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Interest in the role of silicon in crop production and protection has been growing around the world for several years now. Some might say that North America is a bit behind the curve! We recently came across a comprehensive article from 2010 on the website of an Australian agricultural consulting company. It begins:

A major mineral is missing in many soils and most soil tests do not even monitor its presence. This mineral can increase stress resistance, boost photosynthesis and chlorophyll content, improve drought resistance, salt tolerance and soil fertility and prevent lodging. It can also reduce insect pressure, frost damage and destructive disease while lowering irrigation rates, neutralising heavy metal toxicity and countering the negative effects of excess sodium. If I were to tell you that this same missing mineral can increase root growth, boost yield and enhance crop quality, you could well ask, “how could we have overlooked something so important?” and you would be correct. It has been a serious oversight. The mineral in question is silicon, and science is rapidly revealing the scope and scale of our silicon neglect.

The article goes on to describe the role of silicon in cell wall resilience, photosynthesis and mineral uptake, abiotic and biotic stress management, plant immune response, and even human health! It concludes:

Proactivity is the essence of the biological approach. If you understand how plants protect themselves, then you provide the necessary components to maximise that process and minimise the need for chemical intervention. In this context, silicon is an essential pre-requisite for proactive pest and stress management and should be an integral part of every good nutrition program.

Click here to read the complete article.

Wollastonite from Canadian Wollastonite is a natural, mined calcium silicate with the demonstrated ability to increase levels of silicon in plants when used as a soil amendment.