This 5 part course covers every aspect of the commercial truffle growing industry, beginning with the ‘business’ of truffle farming and the opportunity it presents today, including all financial considerations.
You’ll learn key pre-requisites of site selection; including climate, soils, geography and ecology. Gain in depth knowledge of truffles and their unique life-cycles; critical to successful farming. We analyse the range of truffles grown today and discuss attributes of common host trees and certification programs.
We study the complexities of efficient, commercial farm establishment, including farm design principles, earthworks, soil adjustments, irrigation systems, farm protection and mulching systems. You’ll learn up to date seasonal maintenance techniques; including annual cultivation, re-inoculation, tree pruning and dynamic irrigation requirements as farms mature.
Harvesting is covered in great detail including; timing, technique and developing truffle maturity assessment skills. There is a section on selecting/training truffle dogs and using harvesting contractors. Important considerations involved in handling, cleaning, grading and packaging truffles are covered in great depth, and the section on product branding, marketing truffles and value added products is essential learning.
Optional quizzes will test your learning, as you move through each stage of the program.
Farm business plan and financial analysis
A key feature of ‘How to grow truffles commercially’ is the farm business plan and financial analysis tool.
As you learn the requirements for each stage of farm development, you may insert relevant information and costing data into your personal plan builder. Data examples may include, climate, soil and water analysis, licence fees, farm establishment costs and projected outgoings.
The completed result, is a business plan and investment budget, including future financial analysis. Details include farm establishment timelines, capital expenditure, annual running costs, future marketing plans and income projection. This document is your investment ‘road map’ and progress measurement tool. It may also assist in negotiations with financial institutions if required.
At the completion of part one, we provide you with a location and site suitability analysis, based on your data inputs. This assessment will be written into your developing farm business plan. Recommendations made assists in making informed decisions, regarding progressing with the project.
As an enrolled student, you’re invited to join the ‘How to grow truffles commercially’ course forum.
Here you may discuss your progress with others online, and post questions at any time.
We’ll also respond to questions through the forum, so that everyone can learn from the answers.
Part 1. The business of truffle growing
On completion of this section of the course, you’ll have gained knowledge and understanding on;
- The ‘business’ of truffle farming and the investment opportunity it presents.
- Today’s global marketplace and how it works.
- Export, wholesale and local markets.
- History of industry development and research milestones.
- Business planning – understanding the financial aspects of the investment.
Part 2. The non-negotiable factors of truffle growing
- The non-negotiable factors of truffle growing – Principles (SC)
- Mycorrhiza – the complex relationship between specialised fungi and host trees.
- Truffles – valuable species, natural habitats, life-cycles, mating types, brule and fruiting conditions.
- Host trees – species, quality assurance and certification programs.
- Site suitability – climate, topography, elevation, aspect, water resources and soil characteristics.
Part 3. Establishing an efficient truffle farm
On completion of this section of the course, you’ll understand the steps in designing and establishing an efficient truffle farming enterprise including:
- Farm design principles
- Which species of truffle to grow
- Choosing the right host tree
- Planting patterns and densities (based on species and climate)
- Site preparation and earthworks (using raised planting beds)
- Irrigation design and installation
- Mulching techniques and products
- Farm protection (fences and windbreaks – include virtual fencing)
- Planting (timing and technique)
Part 4. Management, maintenance and marketing
On completion of this section, you’ll have learned and understand all aspects of;
- How manage the complex relationship between fungus and host tree.
- Seasonal maintenance – post planting
- Seasonal and annual maintenance – Years one to four (pre-fruiting)
- Seasonal and annual maintenance – Year four onward (first fruiting)
- Re-inoculation theory and practice
- Irrigation theory and practice
- Bio security implications and implementation
- Common pests/diseases and control methods
- Truffle dogs – selecting and training your own
- Using truffle harvesting contractors
- Harvesting, handling, grading, packaging fresh truffles
- Marketing strategies and realities
Part 5. Truffle dogs – Selection and training
- Pros and cons of owning your own dog
- Characteristics of a good truffle dog
- Selecting the right breed for you
- Training the dog to locate ripe truffles
- Keeping your dog ‘tuned up’ in the off season