A new technology developed by Fibria aims to help reduce water consumption during the irrigation of seedlings after planting. The solution was created at the company’s unit in Aracruz, Espírito Santo, through a partnership between the Technology Center and the Forest Operational Development department.
The solution is a protective collar around the seedlings, which involves the application of a mix of pulp waste around the plant. This mix forms a layer of soil protection, reducing temperature and maintaining the humidity in the planting hole. As a result, less irrigation is required.
This technology was developed based on research started in 2007 and the method for applying the mix was improved in recent years. Field studies have shown that it is possible to eliminate at least one irrigation operation during the driest periods of the year, reducing water consumption by around 6,500 liters/hectare planted.
“These results motivated the company to file a patent application for the new technology,” said Fibria’s research coordinator Reginaldo Mafia, one of the authors of the patent.
During dry periods, the irrigation of eucalyptus seedlings is usually carried out in the first 30 days after planting. Besides reducing water consumption, the protective collar reduces mortality and the need to replant seedlings. During the development of the protective collar for seedlings, several tests were carried out in Aracruz and Três Lagoas before arriving at the most appropriate application method in operations.
Fibria’s Operational Development coordinator and one of the inventors of the collar, Edmilson Bitti, explains that after approval of technical feasibility, the technology is currently being implemented in the company’s operations to evaluate the results on a larger scale.
To reduce the need for water, Fibria already uses a polymer hydrogel in planting, which absorbs a large quantity of water and helps keep the soil humid. “The use of the pulp collar is yet another technology fully developed by the company itself to reduce water consumption in planting operations,” said Guilherme Christo, Forestry coordinator at the Aracruz unit.