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Benefits of Silicon for Plant Growth:


Silicon is required by all plants in optimising a plants chlorophyll levels to optimise yields and

assisting in providing resistance against pest and disease. Silicon can only be used by plants when it

is present in a bioavailable form known as monosilicic acid.


A report published on Farmers Weekly details that “With enhanced natural defence capabilities and

strengthened plant structure, plants are better able to withstand stress and tolerate more extreme

weather conditions” and furthermore “Silicon nutrition enhances the passive defence pathway,

resulting in pest and disease reduction by 40-50%” and encourages the absorption of beneficial

elements such as zinc, calcium and nitrogen.


For more information on the benefits of Silicon please visit:


Can silicon crop sprays benefit growers this season? - Farmers Weekly (



Maximising the benefits from cover crops through species selection and crop management:


AHDB completed a project to measure, assess and quantify the impacts of the cover crops on soil

properties and on the performance of 2 subsequent crops. Cover crop can be effective at improving

soil functions by increasing soil nutrient and water retention, improving soil structure/quality,

reducing the risk of soil erosion, surface run-off and diffuse pollution by providing soil cover and by

managing weeds or soil-borne pests.


The trial looked at the performance of seven cover crop species (including cereals, brassicas,

legumes and ‘others’ – phacelia and buckwheat) and three mixes of these species, with an untreated

control (weedy stubble). The research highlights that on heavy textured soils cover cropping can

result in increased topsoil moisture content however late destruction <1 week prior to drilling

resulted in poor seed bed conditions and establishment of the following cash crop.


The report highlights the need for “understanding the effects of different cover crops on soil

properties, yield and other ecosystem services is essential to realise the potential benefits”.


For the full reports please visit.


Maximising the benefits from cover crops through species selection and crop management (Maxi-

Cover crop)  AHDB


How the UK agricultural industry can support the transition to sustainable, regenerative

agriculture and net zero.


A report published by the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA) has called for greater collaboration

between major UK food retailers and manufacturers to address soil management throughout their

supply chains to meet Net Zero, biodiversity and sustainable farming aims.


The research, published ahead of World Soils Day weeks after COP 26 highlights agriculture’s role in

addressing the climate and nature crises. Speaking about the report, Callum Weir, Sustainable

Agriculture Specialist at WWF said: “The rationale for greater collaboration between businesses that

depend on soil for the products they sell couldn’t be more clear. Soil improvement is incremental,

non-excludable and reversible – the benefits are spread between farmers, land-owners, retailers,

manufacturers and the environment in general, while on the flip-side, decades of good work can be

undone in a very short space of time.


The report concluded with 5 recommendations to businesses:


a. Ensure you and your intermediates suppliers are not contributing inadvertently to increased soil

degradation and decline. Use all mechanisms (advisors, contracts, certification schemes) to embed

regulatory compliance and safeguards against soil-damaging practices into supplier relations.


b. Show your commitment is real, tangible, traceable and measurable. Develop metrics and

performance indicators that connect corporate regenerative ambitions with on-the-ground projects

- and regularly and publicly report on progress against them.


c. Make the most of available and future research. Ensure it translates into practice change on the

ground as widely as possible.


d. Be a catalyst for system-wide change. Spread ambition and best practice throughout the industry

both vertically – via intermediaries that source on your behalf - and horizontally to competitors and

hard to reach/invisible supply chains.


e. Anticipate and address farmer needs at a time of great uncertainty. Demonstrate alignment with

policy-makers, market forces and other drivers through whole system thinking, consistent metrics

and leadership.


For further reading please visit:


Sustainable Soils | Working together to restore our soils

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