The addition of sodium silicate has been found to increase the yield of barley to a considerable extent, this effect being most marked when no superphosphate is added.
The phosphatic content of the ash is not greatly increased in the grain, and is diminished in one case in the straw; the conclusion from this observation that the silicate does not act by releasing soil phosphates, but as a plant stimulus, overlooks the fact that the addition of silica to the ash naturally reduces the percentage of other constituents, and should be discounted.
The phosphate removed annually in the crop is greatly increased on the plots receiving silicate, even when this removal has continued for many years without replacement.
That additional phosphate is actually made available to the crop on the plots receiving silicate is shown by the increase in the proportion of phosphate in the dry weight of the crop, which appears on all the plots, and at all periods.
This increase is quantitatively sufficient to account for the increased yield in grain and straw, without postulating the aid of any stimulus to plant growth.
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