Silica: One of the most misunderstood elements in agriculture.
Silica otherwise known as Silicon dioxide (Si02) makes up 59% of the earth’s crust and is the main constituent of more than 95% of known rocks.
In agriculture there has been much recent research into Silica and Silicic Acid and their effects in plant production. My observations agree that Silica is a major contributor to changes in soil growth and mineral availability but we will bypass this part in this article as there are properties of silica that can have an enormous effect in our productive capacity that I believe have not been discussed openly.
To my knowledge, at last count there is known to be 125 different forms of silica in our natural environment. From a geologically point of view an absolute pile of information has been produced about how these silica minerals have been formed and the many properties of these silica compounds.
These can range from diatoms; the skeletal remains of minute water creatures that built up over thousands of years to create diatomaceous earth, to minerals that fluoresce when exposed to Ultra Violet Light.
It was the phenomenon of fluorescence under UV light that first introduced me to the amazing ability of what would normally be called an inert substance. During a trip to our local gem shop I entered an exhibit where some of these silica minerals were held in a light free environment and were exposed to Ultra Violet Light. These minerals reacted to the UV light and fluoresced varying colours depending on the type of silica mineral held in the sample. This is completely different than when we normally see colour as we see the reflective light coming back to us like green grass reflects back to us the green colour. The light that is produced by the reaction to UV light is created by the silica mineral itself.
There was some conjecture that reaction was caused by the photons bouncing the electrons off the original substance, but after discussion with a NASA solar expert I’m happy to agree with them that the photons mutate/convert, whatever you may call it, to electrons and, at the same time give off light and heat as part of the reaction.
In nature the best way I have been able to describe this is to visit a white sandy beach on a summer’s day. On these beaches the sand can be nearly 100% Silica with varying degrees of particle size. If you put a board on the beach that is the same colour as the sand it will not heat up to an unbearable temperature from exposure to the sun but if you step off the board onto the sand in bare feet you will be jumping around in no time at all.
There is no doubt you will need your sun glasses at the same time because the light in this environment is very intense. This light intensity is more than mere reflection; it is intensified as the photons are converted from the UV portion of sunlight by the sand’s crystalline silica capability.
With an electrical multi meter and a little observation we can measure the electrical output and effect of this process. By going closer to the water with the meter set at low level DC (direct current) with a bit of trial and error you’ll generally find an electrical flow back into the ocean.
On our local beach at Waihi, in the North Island of New Zealand that electrical effect can be observed with dramatic effect. In heavy easterly weather the shore can be covered with shells dragged up by the surging waves and tide. It took a walk on the beach after a long spell of fine weather for me to see what was really taking place. What I found that day was that the shells of a mollusc locally known as the Pipi were paper thin yet still in their original shape. I guess we all think that the shells wear out through wave motion, but I have visited beaches that are not sandy but are small particles of shell smashed up over time but they were not dissolving.
With a little more investigation about what was happening to all the shells pushed up onto the beach I found that on the white sandy beaches the shells were disappearing in a matter of weeks, and they were disappearing through the process of electrolysis where the electricity produced from the reaction with the beach sand effectively reduced the shells to their base mineral constituents that then returned to the ocean.
This process of electrical production is certainly not new to man because solar panels which do exactly the same thing can be purchased. So if the beach is a solar panel.., what about our farms?
The impact of this knowledge certainly opened my thinking capsule with regard to utilising this energy in agriculture. There are a limited number studies into the effect of electrical stimulation on mineral up take into plants and the effect of increasing biological activity when that biology is exposed to low level current. This information lines up with some of Davis and Rawls work into the Magnetic Effect on living systems and also confirms the rule that with every electrical current there is always a magnetic field.
What we found on the farm after a series of what could only be called unusual coincidences revealed the true path of what the soil electrical field looks like. Having applied basic slag to our property which just happened to have 15% silicon as part of it and included 15% Iron in the form of magnetite, 30% calcium, 1% phosphorus and 5% magnesium not only did we get a great response in soil health and pasture production, we also had an effect that nearly passed by without notice. We had used fish bins to feed minerals to the stock and on a particular morning after six inches of rain the proceeding day; not uncommon in our part of the world; I found a strange phenomenon in the bottom of that fish bin.
There had been a little kelp meal left behind before the bin filled with water and what that kelp did was to form into perfectly aligned rows on the bottom of the fish bin magnetically east to west. These lines were exactly 27mm apart.
After much investigation and testing what was found is that the earth has an electrical flow running east to west which when available will form electrical lines utilising the tiny particles of iron (magnetite). When there are the right forms of silica present electricity is produced in the soil and the electrical current lifts creating current though the magnetite lines and as such creating an electromagnetic field. What had happened on that particular morning was that the kelp meal had been attracted to the electromagnetic effect from the soil and exposed the electrical nature of the soil.
Planet earth is actually a giant dynamo. There is no magnetism without electricity and no electricity without magnetism. When we utilise these principles and look at growth cycles around this amazing planet we really start to see how, as you move closer to the poles the electricity and magnetism increases dramatically causing massive production potential over very short periods of time. As we get closer to the equator the electrical effect slowly diminishes along with the magnetic field and we see completely different growth patterns in nature.