A mathematical model that assists in decision-making at a facility devoted to the cultivation and production of the common mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has received the prize for the best scientific contribution during the 2nd International Food Operations&Processing Simulation Workshop, FoodOPS, held in Larnaca (Cyprus).

This methodology means that the consumption of resources and emissions can be reduced and the productivity of an agri-food facility improved. The authors of the article, published in the proceedings of the international congress, have developed a mathematical model using a specific tool (Petri nets). They thus propose an optimization process to find, in a model that manages crops of this type, the best solution for the variables introduced, such as the dimensions of the cultivation facilities, the amounts of raw materials used, the parameters and the duration of the various production phases or the rate of equipment use.

Obviously more optimization in agriculture is welcome. Though inputs have dropped dramatically, food has gone from a basic need and luxury to being a commodity, and that has caused wealthy elites and other environmental movement supporters to believe their hobby gardens can be a food system worldwide - a belief which has held back developing nations and simply made European farmers richer.

Farmers use a great deal of big data right now, because margins are very thin and they need to control costs while obeying an increasingly hostile federal government regulatory system. New tools will be a big step on the road to insuring an adequate food supply without more environmental strain.

Citation: Petri net modelling and operational optimization of a facility for the preparation, cultivation
and production of common mushroom (agaricus bisporus) J.I. Latorre-Biel, E. Jiménez-Macías, M.Pérez de la Parte, F.J. Leiva-Lázaro, E. Martínez-Cámara, J.Blanco-Fernández Public University of Navarre; University of La Rioja - Spain http://www.msc-les.org/conf/foodops2016/