Expanded availability of a product that replaces lime plus provides other benefits to mitigate problems associated with acid soils has been announced by Harsco Minerals, which is a division of Harsco Corporation, a company specializing in producing and manufacturing products from byproducts and renewable resources.

AgrowSil is a silicate-based soil conditioner and soil amendment that provides multiple benefits beyond the use of either calcite or dolomitic liming materials in agricultural production, the company contends.

AgrowSil is a byproduct made from the manufacturing of steel, and it has been available in the Mid-Atlantic region. Harsco Minerals is located at Sarver, Penn., and the company recently developed a new pelletized formulation of AgrowSil that is less bulky, which allows the product to be shipped nationally.

AgrowSil not only increases yield by restoring and improving soil fertility, but has also been shown to actively boost the natural ability of plants to withstand problems from disease, insects and environmental stress. AgrowSil soil conditioner also improves growth and plant function by effectively managing and correcting a number of problems associated with acid soils, according to Harsco scientists.

“Recent product formulation improvements will allow the company to expand their position in key agricultural markets, says Steve Miranda, global market manager for agriculture and turfgrass for Harsco Minerals. “We have just introduced a pelletized version of AgrowSil that will offer growers more application flexibility, provide a longer-lasting supply of plant available silicon and can be mixed with dry fertilizers.”

The added benefits of AgrowSil as promoted by Harsco Minerals include silicon being absorbed by plant roots and moving upward in the transpiration stream to form solid, hydrated gels between the cuticle and the cell walls.

“Silicon is also deposited within cell walls where it improves cell wall strength, plant rigidity, root development, linear growth, water efficiency and presents barriers to environmental stresses and limits the susceptibility to pathogens and insects,” the product information says.

Silicon accumulation within the epidermal cells and cell walls allows for elevated concentrations of chlorophyll per unit area of leaf tissue resulting in photosynthetic efficiency, it is further claimed.

Harsco research and university research also provides scientific reasons to attribute claims of alleviating salt stress, reducing drought stress and heat stress plus additional plant defense responses.