Consider Agrisilica in crop nutrition programs

Agrisilica fertiliser is composed of a unique natural form of silicon, sourced from the world’s largest deposit of amorphous silica in Queensland.

Agrisilica and its role in crop production has been subject to a considerable amount of research and trials, says Agripower’s head of sales and marketing, Peter Tandy.

“Results have consistently demonstrated crop yield increase and improved quality when silicon has been applied to crops. The high concentration of soluble silicon (26% w/w), which is readily converted into plant available silicon (PAS), makes Agrisilica fertiliser unique.”

According to Mr Tandy, silicon and especially Agrisilica works in several ways that can improve crop performance. He says Agrisilica alleviates the detrimental effects of stresses through a range of mechanisms including:

1. Regulating the uptake of essential nutrients, enabling crops to grow better. Research has proven that silicon improves the uptake and utilisation of a number of essential nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and calcium. The mechanisms behind these benefits are multifaceted and include both in-soil and in-plant processes

2. Improves the ability of the plant to withstand moisture stress and extreme heat events by reducing transpiration, by altering stomata conductance and by forming a layer of silicon in the leaf cell walls which reduces water loss

3. Reduces the negative impact of high soil salinity levels and high salt levels in irrigation water. By decreasing plasma membrane permeability, increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes and inhibiting the transport of salt to the leaves

4. Increases the rate of photosynthesis. Silicon deposited in the cell walls means that the leaves are more erect and can capture more sunlight. This in important particularly in greenhouse crops grown in cloudy conditions

5. Silicon accumulates in the plant cell walls and acts a physical barrier to disease and pests. Silicon is particularly effective in reducing the impact of fungal diseases (e.g. powdery mildew) and sucking insects (such as aphids and thrips)

6. Silicon plays an important role in initiating systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in plants which stimulates the plant immune system in response to disease.

Because all crops are grown under some form of stress, Mr Tandy said all crops will respond to silicon.

“If there is insufficient plant-available silicon, then crops will respond to silicon fertilisers,” he said. “Agrisilica has the highest plant available silicon on the market.”

Mr Tandy said growers and suppliers should consider these factors and the unique benefits of Agrisilica when choosing a silicon fertiliser:

Choosing the correct silicon fertiliser

- Plant available silicon content: Many fertilisers express silicon in terms of total elemental percentage and not what the plant can actually utilise. Agrisilica contains 26% soluble silicon

- Heavy mental content: Slags have been used as a source of silicon. Many slags contain heavy metals and should not be used for crop production. Agrisilica contains no heavy metals of significance

- Cristobalite content: Some silicon fertilisers may contain carcinogenic cristobalite. Agrisilica contains no cristobalite.

Benefits of using Agrisilica

1. Improved yields. Trials have indicated improved yields on all crops tested

2. Improved quality. Trials consistently confirm increased fruit size, improved shelf life and increased brix levels

3. Improved pest and disease control

4. Reduced use of NPK fertilisers. Many trials have indicated that a reduction in NPK fertilisers can be achieved due to the improved uptake of applied fertilisers. Consult your agronomist or Agripower for information.

Mr Tandy said Agripower has conducted over 600 trials globally, (including scientific and independently monitored commercial work) in over 40 different crop types aimed at providing the benefits of Agrisilica fertiliser.

“Agripower is continuing its global research projects, including drought and salinity trials with the University of Western Sydney and are part of the Soil CRC.

“Results have consistently shown yield increases and improved quality parameters in a wide range of crops,” Mr Tandy said.

Trials have focused on the addition of Agrisilica to existing fertiliser practice and the quality, health, size and yield increases of crops trialled and the benefits these provided to the grower.

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