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Completed project

Alternate casing substrate – providing review of research to date and an expert forum for future R&D investment (MU22009)

Key research provider: Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association
Publication date: Monday, June 3, 2024

What was it all about?

This project investigated the current situation regarding peat availability and existing research into finding suitable alternatives for mushroom growing. These findings will inform future investment alternative casing substrate options that maximise yield, quality, profitability, and sustainability.


It is estimated that the Australian mushroom industry uses 150,000 tonnes of peat moss every year, a finite resource which is largely imported from Europe. As the Irish government have begun to decommission peatbogs and peat extraction (completed by 2035), and Germany/Western Europe beginning to follow this approach, peat will become more expensive, and potentially difficult or impossible to acquire.

In March 2023, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the United Kingdom announced a complete ban on peat and peat-containing products being sold through UK retailers, including fresh produce grown using horticultural peat, by 2030. This deadline could potentially set precedence for other countries, including Australia, creating urgency to find a suitable, sustainable 100% peat replacement for the mushroom industry on a global scale. 


The project team analysed the current situation and emerging threats regarding potential limitations to the supply of peat casing to the Australian mushroom industry and reviewed the current global research into peat blends and peat replacements, to provide firm recommendations for future Australian research and development priorities to find suitable alternatives to deliver a sustainable casing material for Australia.

Key outputs from this project include:

  1. Delivery of the Future of Casing Report – Review of Casing Materials and Availability for Mushroom Cultivation
  2. A Future of Casing Report Symposium presenting the findings of the report and obtaining further information from key industry stakeholders from around the world.
  3. Recommendations for future research and development investment into sustainable peat alternatives for the Australian mushroom industry.


The outputs of the project have provided the Australian mushroom industry with research and development priorities which will inform the development of a long-term R&D investment program, which aims to alternative casing substrate option(s) that maximises yield, quality, profitability, and sustainability.

Related levy funds

This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund