SILICA BENEFITS IN AGRICULTURE
Silica is widely misunderstood. It is mistakenly left out of most plant nutrition and agriculture input management programs. Current popular wisdom for adding silica (SiO2) is relatively limited to strengthening cell walls and increasing vigorous plant growth.
“Plant Beneficial Substance”
Recognizing the indicated benefits of silicic acid, agronomists and soil scientists gathered for the Tri-Societies Conference in Ohio in 2013, which brought together representatives from the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). Researchers at the conference concluded that trial data and anecdotal evidence has shown that supplemental soil products with silicic acid – like Silica Earth™ – can suppress disease, reduce pest damage, minimize effects of environmental stress, and ultimately increase yield. Shortly after the conference, the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) officially designated silicon as a “plant beneficial substance.”
SILICA IN PLANTS
Modern plant science classifies silica as a beneficial micronutrient required for healthy plant growth. Silica is a naturally occuring compound containing the elements Silicon (Si) and Oxygen (O), known scientifically as silicon dioxide [SiO2]. In order for plants to benefit from SiO2, silica must be plant available in forms such as silicic acid [Si(OH)4] or Monosilicic acid [H4SiO4].
Applications to various agricultural crops indicate silica accumulates in plants at different rates and is critical for many physical and biochemical functions. Many plants use silica at ev