Welcome to the Canadian Wollastonite blog. This is where we’ll share the latest information on our activities, whether they’re happening at the mine site, at research facilities, or on farms and gardens.
In the first post, we’ll give a brief overview of our research activities and the on-farm trials that have been taking place over the summer and fall of 2015. As these experiments conclude and more results arrive, we’ll highlight each in more detail in future articles.
There’s growing awareness of and interest in the role of silicon in sustainable agriculture, and farmers across North America are beginning to incorporate silicon-rich soil amendments into their operations. Several of these growers have been experimenting with Canadian Wollastonite. Here are some examples:
- Vegetable growers in Quebec are applying Canadian Wollastonite to squash and pumpkin fields to increase pest and disease resistance and to greenhouse soils to mitigate sodium build-up
- Hops producers are experimenting with Canadian Wollastonite to address powdery mildew
- Dairy farmers in Pennsylvania are applying Canadian Wollastonite to alfalfa fields
- Turfgrass growers are spreading Canadian Wollastonite and observing better colour, more vigour, and reduced grub populations
To support the existing body of research on wollastonite and calcium silicates and in order to provide accurate information for local and regional crops and growing conditions, Canadian Wollastonite is supporting a number of Ontario-based research trials. A successful grant application to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affair’s Rural Economic Development (RED) Program has made several of these projects possible.
- At the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus, researchers are looking at the role of Canadian Wollastonite on the incidence and severity of powdery mildew in winter squash crops. They are comparing Canadian Wollastonite against agricultural lime (calcium carbonate) and a foliar silicate-based fungicide.
- Researchers at Guelph’s Soil Resource Group are growing a variety of crops in both the field and greenhouse pots to look at the effect of varying levels of Canadian Wollastonite supplementation. Crops include wheat, soybeans, green beans, sunflowers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, spinach, and melons. They are evaluating a number of criteria including: plant mass and quality, fruit yield and quality, resistance to water stress and disease pressure, and nutrient and silicon concentrations in plants and soil/media
- Canadian Wollastonite is one of several materials being evaluated for its ability to remove phosphorus from greenhouse wastewater over the course of a 3-year study.
- OMAFRA has also included Canadian Wollastonite in research aimed at reducing nutrient leaching from container nurseries.
You can find more links to research on wollastonite, calcium silicates, and the role of silicon in agriculture and environmental management by visiting our research page. As you can see, there will be lots of material for future blog posts as these research projects are completed and as we continue to learn more about the potential for Canadian Wollastonite to contribute to a cleaner, greener future.