If a grower wants to buy Dutch shelves to grow mushrooms on, he has two choices of material. The first is galvanised steel, and the second is aluminium. It has always been a fact, and all growers know this, that aluminium is the more expensive of the two choices. That, according to Bob Holtermans of MushComb in Horst, The Netherlands, has changed.
At this moment, galvanised steel shelving is sold for at least the same price as aluminium. Because the cost of transport for aluminium shelves is lower, the price for aluminium shelves delivered to a farm is lower. Bob Holtermans: “Ever since the mushroom industry has had a demand for metal shelves, to replace wood, aluminium has been more expensive. What you see now, and this is a development of the last 6 to 9 months, is that the price of raw materials for shelves has developed and changed. If a grower orders galvanised steel shelves, it will cost him somewhere between 33 and 37 euros per square meter of growing surface. For aluminium this is more towards 33 euros per square meter. If you take into account that the cost for transporting aluminium shelves is about 50% lower, a grower is now better off buying aluminium.”
Holtermans says that transporting aluminium is cheaper because of the weight and the fact that aluminium shelves can be transported in smaller pieces, easy to assemble.
The rest price for aluminium or steel, the price you get for your shelves if you sell them as raw material, has not been taken into account here.
If a grower is looking for second hand shelves, the market is getting tight. Holtermans: “The availability of second hand shelving is getting less. Second hand shelves are also used more and more as raw material, and therefore not re-used as shelves. When the first full metal shelves came on the market, somewhere late 1970’s, the sideboards were suffering a lot more because of the heavy spawning machines driving over it. Those shelves are better for scrap then to be re-used.”