Traditional agricultural science says 15 elements are required to grow pasture!
This has been increased to 16 elements because silicon has now been included.
The body of evidence on the requirements of silicon in grass production is monumental.
It can be very confusing because 75% of the earth’s crust is made up of silicon and oxygen, which combines to make silica SiO2. The number of different types of Silica run to quite a few; 125 at last authoritative count.
Plants require silicon as silicic acid which is biologically created in the soils from hydroxides of Silicon. In this form it is plant available.
In really simple terms this is OHSi (a hydroxide of silicon) and not SiO2( Silica) which are pretty much indestructible crystalline structures such as beach sand.
Significantly, to destroy Hydroxides of Silicon just add acid to the soil!
In our quest to grow pastures with 15 elements generally only four are focused on. These are N, P, K & S. Our delivery of these four elements to the soil in acidic fertilisers actually hinders the plant availability of Silicon by destroying its hydroxide forms. A severe consequence of this is a decrease of Phosphorus availability.
International research shows that applications of Silicon fertiliser can decrease Phosphorus leaching by 40-70% which then stays in a plant available form.
What we are seeing and what is recognised in the studies on Silicon amendments is that all pastures require some silicon. Some more than others.
Soil silicon levels have not been routinely tested for and so it has not been identified what happens when our soils are deficient!
The common reason to “regrass” a paddock appears to be because the pasture is deemed to have “run out” and “new improved” cultivars are needed yet when pastures are adequately fertilized with the 15 elements along with Silicon amendments pastures can bounce back to full production.
To put this into context; it is known that there are up to 2,000 seeds in the top 150 mm of a square meter of soil that are just waiting for the right conditions and mineralogy that will allow them to flourish. Why should I spend money on more seeds?!
To find out how to recognize silicon deficiency make the call to Ewan “less on” Campbell
And educate yourself into conserving your hard earned cash and utilising the resources you already have.