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Sep 2022

Silicon strengthens crops against slugs


Tests have shown that the use of silicon as a seed treatment and foliar spray can strengthen crops against slug damage. Sirius is a biostimulant with 21% silicon that protects seeds and also strengthens the cells of plants by enhancing cuticle thickness and increasing leaf hair length.

The application of Sirius at early emergence (GS11 stage) as a foliar spray has been shown to reduce slug damage by 44% over a 72-hour period in laboratory conditions using wheat seedlings,” explains Orion FT technical manager, Kate Williams.

Sirius delivers silicon in the form of monosilicic acid. This is achieved using Orion FT’s iNHiB technology which makes silicon available to the plant immediately, helping to strengthen its natural defences. The effect is a crop that is less palatable to slugs and more resilient to attack.

Whilst using Sirius as a foliar spray can help the crop as it develops, Orion FT has also tested the benefit of applying the product as a seed treatment. Wheat seeds were treated with Sirius and exposed to slugs to establish the reduction in seed hollowing.

Slugs usually cause the worst damage to winter wheat very early on, feeding on seeds almost immediately after sowing. Sirius reduced this behaviour by more than half. When slugs were offered 25 seeds, only 7 were damaged when treated with Sirius, versus 18 with untreated seeds,” she explains.

Slugs are attracted to seeds within hours of sowing and will feed as soon as the seed has taken in water, eating the embryo, killing the seed, and often eating part or all of the endosperm, resulting in the characteristic seed hollowing.

Sirius essentially makes the seed less palatable to the slug. When applied as a seed treatment this helps enable the seed to germinate. When applied as a foliar spray it strengthens the plant and also makes it less palatable to slugs,” she concludes.


Kate Williams - Technical Manager
[email protected]
Part of the Milbank Group

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