Effect of Silicon Fertilization on Growth, Yield, and Disease Development in Wheat Plant
Silicon (Si) is known to enhance crop’s ability to withstand biotic and abiotic stress therefore can help crop maintain productivity even in adverse environmental conditions. In Louisiana, wheat production is commonly challenged by high disease pressure. A field study was conducted at two locations in Louisiana in 2014 to evaluate the effect of Si fertilization on wheat productivity using yield, nutrient uptake, grain protein content, and disease severity as metrics. Rust infection rate taken at heading stage in one location was generally reduced by 25% with the application of either foliar Si and granular Si; the positive effect was more pronounced in plots applied 145 Kg N ha-1 where as much as 50% reduction in leaf area affected by rust was recorded. Collectively, the available data demonstrated that both soil and foliar Si application enhanced Si uptake by wheat but the positive effect on productivity and disease development needs further investigation.