Can silicon (Si) fertilization influence the production and nutritional value of Urochloa Convert HD364?
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Tropical soils are highly weathered, acidic, and low in silicon (Si) availability for plants. Si has been considered an essential nutrient for many grasses. Urochloa Convert HD364 is classified as a forage plant that accumulates Si, but the accumulation of this nutrient in the leaf can influence qualitative characteristics, fiber quality, plant architecture, and development of forage. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the production and nutritive value of Urochloa hybrid cultivar Convert HD364 (CIAT 36087) grown from soils collected in the state of Paraná, Brazil. The experiment was carried out in a greenhouse using 8-L plastic pots and three types of soil. Treatments were arranged in a randomized block design in a 3 × 5 factorial: three soils [Rhodic Acrudox (Ox1), Rhodic Hapludox (Ox2) and Arenic Hapludult (Ult)] and five silicate rates (0, 1, 2, 4 and 6 Mg ha-1 of calcium/magnesium silicate), with four replications. Application of CaSiO3 to the soil increases the concentration of Si in the leaves of Urochloa Convert HD364. The dry matter, crude protein and mineral matter, fiber quality, and digestibility of Urochloa were not influenced by the increase in Si levels in the leaves until 45 days after seeding. Forty-five days after planting, CaSiO3 did not interfere with the growth characteristics and production of Urochloa Convert HD364. There is no evidence that the increased Si levels in the leaf affected the production and nutritive value, especially fiber quality of Urochloa Convert HD364 until 45 days after sedding.