John Bourne & Co takes safety, environmental performance and haulage best practice very seriously - something our customers frequently remark upon as well. The prime way of showing our commitment is by being FORS members, and we have just had confirmation that we continue to qualify in the top tier of the scheme.
FORS - the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme - is an accreditation scheme promoting best practice for commercial vehicle operators. The aim is to drive up the standards for safety, efficiency and environmental protection and accredited members of the scheme are required to show commitment to such standards well beyond the minimum legal requirements. There are three levels: bronze, silver and gold; each requiring increasingly stringent audits and evidence.
The FORS Association manages the standard and provides training and case studies, showing how being FORS accredited helps operators across the industry. There are now over 5,000 members but fewer than 800 have so far reached the Gold level. Many delivery contracts in London, in particular, now require the operator to be FORS accredited.
John Bourne & Co were early adoptors of the scheme, in line with our commitment to delivering the highest quality of service. We reached Gold status in 2016 and have just passed our second repeat audit, confirming our Gold status for another year.
...we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas - and a Happy New Year!
Now, where's that figgy pudding....
See you in 2019!
John Bourne & Co were represented at the National Fruit Show 2018 at Detling Show Ground, Kent. The show presents the best of British produce and technology for fruit growers.
There was great attendance over the two days, which allowed us to meet new clients, talk to current clients and discuss opportunities for 2019. The main talking point of the show was the extraordinarily dry year, which in many instances resulted in a large crop of well sized top fruit (apples). For vines, an increase of up to 50% above normal was noted.
However, it was made particularly clear by the majority of visitors we talked to, that without compost application, the first-year growth and vigour would have been seriously affected. The excessive heat and lack of moisture during the growing season meant that, without compost, the soils would not have been able to retain the moisture, which would have been a significant detriment to the orchard.
Compost application to new orchards is achieved in two ways: (a) spreading down the marked rows before planting, ensuring that the compost falls into the holes with the root when planted. Option (b) is to spread down the rows immediately after planting, which helps with weed suppression, moisture retention and improving the soil structure with organic matter.
The increased yield, particularly on the vines, has caused an increased volume of product for pressing. So much so that sites are now using alternative storage options such as IBCs (intermediate bulk containers, typically about 1 cu.m.) and articulated tankers, as there is no extra capacity available. With the increase of smaller vineyards in the UK, this is something that needs more investment moving forward. If you look at the number of new vines planted, 50% of vines planted in the UK have not yet produced a grape. It takes three years for that vine to produce a crop suitable for consumption, so, when these vines start to produce a suitable crop, this will only compound the current problem.
The premium price that the UK wines maintain will also be tested with the increase in yield and lack of pressing facilities…
For August, we received a number of spectacular entries, all of which could deserve an honourable mention. Some of them related to a rather royal delivery operation, but for reasons of State Security, we can't publish those... Let's just say that when you need this many tipper deliveries for your rose beds, then you are gardening at a different order of magnitude.
Anyway, the very well deserved winner for August is Josef, with this spectacular - and perhaps somewhat surprising if you haven't been to the quarry - view of Westerham on a summer morning!
This is our new bagging unit, based in the Sevenoaks depot. At this time of year, it is used especially for 25-kg bags of cricket (Surrey) loam, but it can of course be used for any material going into small bags.
At the back of the picture, you can see a grey bag hanging in place under a small hopper. This is fed with material from a conveyor belt, which is located outside the store, behind the wall. To the right of the bag is a weighing unit which displays how much material has gone in the bag, to ensure the correct fill every time. Once the bag is full, it drops down on the conveyor belt below and is moved, upright, to the sealing unit to the left (the grey box on the wall). The bag is heat-sealed and then moves further to the left and onto the upwards conveyor, ready to be placed onto the waiting pallet. Once the pallet is full, it is moved outside with a forklift and then shrink-wrapped for stability and protection.
The unit can be operated by one or two people, allowing for up to 1,200 bags on 30 pallets to be produced daily.