CENIBRA has one of the world’s most modern forest nurseries, where cloning techniques are employed in the production of eucalyptus seedlings. Located in 40,000-m2 area near the Company’s Industrial Plant, the nursery complex incorporates the most innovative and sophisticated facilities currently available in terms of technology. It features a structure that enables controlling production factors such as temperature, humidity, light, nutrients and water. As a result, this Nursery will enable the Company to produce high quality seedlings at differentiated costs.
The Nursery was designed for the production of seedlings by the mini-graft process, which consists in making use of the seedlings themselves for the production of sprouts to be used in the formation of slips. The seedlings produced by this process feature strong vigor in the aerial part and root system. Each process stage is monitored to ensure total seedling quality. These controls are part of the procedures based on the ISO standards series 14000 and 9000.
The first stage of the work undertaken in the Nursery takes place in the Clone Garden. Here we find the mini-scions, i.e., the cuttings of Eucalyptus originating from superior trees, obtained from the sprouts of the mother-tree stock. This material is conditioned in small tubes that are filled with an organic substrate (basically made up of rice bran, Eucalyptus bark and vermiculite) that provides plants the appropriate nutritional conditions to further their growth.
Rooting takes place in the Vegetation House, where the sprouts harvested from the mini-scions are kept for a period of about twenty-four days. Then the material passes a period of seven days through the Shading stage. Following this, the slips are taken to the Selection Shed, where those specimens that do not present the desired quality characteristics are excluded.
In sequence, for the next thirty days they go through the Growth stage and then another twenty days through the stage of building up their Rusticity, which ensures additional plant maturing. After that they are taken to the Waiting Nursery, which is the last stage before the slips are shipped to be planted in the field.
The new Nursery features several technological innovations in engineering and process, environment, occupational health fertirrigation system and automation, which are essential to ensure high quality levels in the seedlings production.
The minimization of undesired environmental impacts is achieved thanks to the incorporation of water and nutrients recycling concepts, which prevents contamination of watercourses and the soil. For that purpose, all the material is collected and treated before being reused in the process.
Waste water from the washing of small tubes, trays and fertilizer tanks is collected in a watertight pool and used in commercial Eucalyptus planting around the Nursery. Sterilization of small tubes and trays is done with hot water, while avoiding the use of agrichemicals.
The job of moving the seedlings for handling in the Nursery is done on stainless steel roller tables that have been built ergonomically. Using such roller tables, the seedlings are taken to the sheds where the main part of their handling takes place. Apart from allowing a significant reduction in physical effort required for seedlings transportation, these facilities allow the work to be performed in ample sheds, protected from sun and rain.
A program of compensating gymnastics with light exercises and stretching has been introduced in order to prevent the occurrence of occupational diseases, as well as to enhance the workers’ motivation and disposition level.
Water and nutrients are fed to the seedlings by sub-irrigation, which consists in supplying water directly to the radicle system. Thus, a more uniform irrigation of the seedlings is accomplished, while lowering the humidity in the plant leaves, which minimizes the emergence of diseases.
The innovative concept of fertirrigation, on the other hand, allows for a significant reduction in the consumption of water and fertilizers, since the nutrients and water are provided according to the needs of the seedlings during their various development stages: production of sprouts, rooting, growth and rusticity building up.
All the irrigation process stages – replenishment of tanks, injection of specific fertilizers for each development stage of the seedlings, pumping of nutrient water up to the seedlings, filtering and returning waste water to the tanks – are controlled by an entirely automated system.
Water consumption data at the various sections, as well as any events during irrigation, are recorded for analysis. Temperature and humidity control, which is essential to stimulate the mini-grafts to take root, is also commanded by the automated system, which is connected to a meteorological station.