Silica – The Overlooked Element That Is Essential For Soil And Plant Health

For many years we have promoted the importance and benefits of Silica, a common but often overlooked element that is essential for soil and plant health.

In recent times industries such as cotton, sugar cane, small crops, turf and even pastures are recognizing the potential benefits of Silica.

Silicon, often referred to as Silica, is just one of many ‘bio-essential’ minerals. Many crops grown here in Australia such as rice, barley, oats, cotton, wheat, rye, sunflower, corn, sugar cane, potatoes, forage crops and small crops all benefit from high levels of silicic acid in their cell tissues.

Soil microbes convert silica to silicic acid (plant available form) for constant uptake by plants.

The benefits of Silica to your crop

In a trial of sugar cane, applications of silica (calcium silicate) improved the sugar yield by 38%.

Other trials have shown increased growth and yield in grain, legumes, small crops and tree crops.

Silica increases plant tolerance to drought, frost and lodging. Silica strengthens plant cells which means reduced water loss, less frost damage, more root growth and a decrease in lodging.

Silica increases plant resistance to fungal disease and pest attack because of harder epidermal cells. Reduced brown spot, stem rot, powdery mildew and less caterpillar and aphid attack has resulted from the application of silica.

Silica improves a plant’s ability to survive and even thrive in high salinity areas.

Silica improves plant photosynthesis and aids in the plant uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and molybdenum. (Sources: Incitec Fertilizer Handbook 1990, Acres USA, Dr Lynette Morgan.).

Silica regulates plant uptake of iron, manganese and aluminium thus helping to reduce their toxic effects on plant growth.

Research has found that silica also plays a vital role and is essential for photosynthesis and chlorophyll formation (green colour) in plant leaves.

Silica is converted into plant available form (silicic acid) by soil microbes. If soil is microbe deficient or over-limed, the uptake of silica is reduced. Tests have shown that high organic matter in soil increases soluble silica while liming and the use of Nitrogen or Phosphate fertilizer lowers the soluble silica in soil.

This means that Silica must be supplied through the entire growth stage if its benefits are to be carried through to all parts of the plant.

Silica Sources

Silicates are compounds of silicon plus oxygen with one or more metals. The minerals in NatraMin are in the form of Silicates… calcium silicate, potassium silicate, magnesium silicate etc, providing from 17.3% to 25% Silica depending on the NatraMin blend.

Constant release for optimum benefits

In addition to high levels of Silica, NatraMin provides a broad spectrum of mineral elements which will feed your soil, stimulate microbe and worm activity and result in a better uptake of the silica and other nutrients that are already present in your soil but not available to your plants.

NatraMin can save you money on Lime, Gypsum and Fertilizer costs. Contact AgSolutions on 1800 81 57 57 for more information.