The Sustainability Role FGS Plays in the Corrugated Paper Industry

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0767.JPG

Preserving our valuable natural resources for future generations, including our own forests, is a goal that most of us share. Since 1907, Fruit Growers Supply (FGS) has been pursuing that passion while providing growers in the agricultural market with top-quality corrugated cartons and paper packaging systems produced in harmony with environmental sustainability. We also continue to partner with supply chain vendors who share our passion for responsible production practices using paper mostly derived from sustainable forests. At FGS, our “all in” commitment to environmental sustainability includes the management, harvesting and ongoing reforestation of our timberlands, along with a shared responsibility of conserving our planet’s soil, water, air, wildlife and aesthetic qualities. Additionally, we are a proud partner in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI); a noble cause that many of our paper suppliers also participate in.

What is the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)? 

Trees grown in forests provide us with wood that’s essential to our lives on a daily basis.  If the harvested trees used in that process are not continuously replenished, our precious timberlands could face irreversible damage. The SFI is an organization that provides educational resources and oversight to businesses involved in the wood supply chain in an effort to promote the continuous sustainability of timberlands in North America for commercial, recreational and wildlife use. SFI currently collaborates with various partners on conservation projects encompassing over a quarter billion acres of land in order to ensure that those forests are responsibly-managed for future generations to enjoy. As was mentioned above, FGS is a proud participant in the SFI, along with a majority of the paper suppliers we work with.

FGS Uses these Sustainable Forestry Practices

FGS has been practicing responsible forestry management in an effort to ensure sustainability for over 110 years, and we are currently operating under the SFI 2015-2019 Standard. In accordance with these SFI guidelines, our ongoing timberland conservation practices include:

  • Harvesting trees for the long term using only sustainable replenishment rates.
  • Replanting trees immediately after harvesting, or at least within a 2-year period.
  • Maximizing the sustained production of our forest resources while simultaneously safeguarding the environment utilizing state-of-the-art silvicultural and best management practices.
  • Protecting the soil by using equipment and best management practices that minimize soil disturbance and erosion.
  • Preserving our timberlands’ unique biological, geological and historical characteristics and sites.
  • Continuously striving to protect water quality via erosion prevention techniques and riparian protection zones.
  • Providing diverse habitats for indigenous wildlife, along with conserving biological diversity across the landscapes under our ownership.
  • Maintaining healthier forests in an effort to minimize fire, insect and disease loss.
  • Protecting threatened and endangered species while working closely with government agencies to assist in those species’ conservation.
  • Strongly considering aesthetic values during our management and harvesting activities, and adopting new practices in accordance with those goals.

As time moves forward, FGS will continue to follow responsible tree harvesting, paper purchasing and corrugated container manufacturing practices that support the maximum sustained viability of our forest resources. Our new, highly-automated Carton Plant in Ontario, California was also designed to be as energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible. To watch a short video highlighting our state-of-the-art Carton Plant’s features, or to request a quote from FGS for our grower-trusted corrugated paper products, visit: www.fruitgrowers.com/cartons/ now.

DU Testing – Maximize Crop Yields

Orchard of Orange Trees

Large acreage farms, depending upon the geographic location, often require irrigation to ensure optimal crop yields. But as any farmer who grows nuts, fruit or row crops knows, it’s prudent to quantify irrigation distribution uniformity rates in an effort to maximize every dollar allocated. How can you, as a grower, ensure that your irrigation system is performing optimally and that the water is evenly being applied to the fields? Distribution Uniformity (DU) Testing is one reliable method to measure an irrigation system’s performance.

DU Testing Accurately Measures Irrigation Dispersion Rates

DU Testing is a key indicator of an irrigation system’s effectiveness but other factors, identified later, may be involved. DU is typically measured during an irrigation audit in an effort to assess how evenly irrigation water is being applied to the crops. With the irrigation sprinklers turned on, “catch cans”, or catchments, are used to collect water samples at pre-determined points within a “grid” pattern around your field.

When the DU Test is complete, the volumes collected in all the cans spaced around the grid are recorded. Disbursement uniformity is then calculated using a ratio that looks at the average water volume, in millimeters, applied to the driest quarter of the grid, along with the average water volume applied across the whole grid. This calculation is referred to as the DU lq ratio, short for the Low Quarter DU. The higher the ratio the better the whole field irrigation coverage is, while a perfect score of 1.0 DU lq, equates to 100% dispersion efficiency.

Above or below average figures vary depending upon the type of irrigation system deployed on the test field. Here are the desirable DU ratios broken down for each irrigation system:

  • .85 or 85% for fixed sprinkler and travelling gun
  • .90 or 90% for center pivots, lateral moves and boom
  • .95 or 95% for micro-sprinkler and drip

If your DU Test ratio falls below these numbers, your irrigation water is not being evenly applied.

Potential Applications of DU Test Results

Naturally, if you’re a farmer whose DU ratio is sub-optimal, the unequal irrigation water dispersion falling upon your field is a concern. For example, it may indicate that you have faulty sprinklers or pressure problems somewhere within your irrigation system. However, the amount of water leaving the sprinkler heads doesn’t necessarily equate with levels reaching crop roots below ground. Other factors that may influence the actual water volume between the catchment level and root zone include:

  • Surrounding plant canopy
  • Root depth
  • Root access due to influences like thatch and mulch
  • Varying field slope levels
  • Air temperature and water evaporation
  • Soil firmness and moisture saturation

Don’t Allow Poor DU to Threaten Your Next Yield

In the end, low irrigation dispersion uniformity may cause variations in crop yields and quality.  Inefficient water use and higher costs are also a concern for growers. Field applied nutrients and fertilizers could also unexpectedly get washed away from the roots. If you farm, it’s always advisable to allow a professional to conduct a complete irrigation audit on your fields whenever dispersion uniformity is in question.

For more information on DU Testing, or to get a free price quote on your next irrigation project contact us now using the form to the right or click here to learn more about our installation services.