Silicon soil amendment has been shown to enhance plant defenses against insect pests. Rice is a silicon-accumulating graminaceous plant. In the southern United States, the rice water weevil and stem borers are important pests of rice. Current management tactics for these pests rely heavily on the use of insecticides. This study evaluated the effects of silicon amendment when combined with current management tactics for these rice insect pests in the field. Field experiments were conducted from 2013 to 2015. Rice was drill-planted in plots subjected to factorial combinations of variety (conventional and hybrid), chlorantraniliprole seed treatment (treated and untreated), and silicon amendment (treated and untreated). Silicon amendment reduced densities of weevil larvae on a single sampling date in 2014, but did not affect densities of whiteheads caused by stem borers. In contrast, insecticidal seed treatment strongly reduced densities of both weevil larvae and whiteheads. Higher densities of weevil larvae were also observed in the hybrid variety in 2014, while higher incidences of whiteheads were observed in the conventional variety in 2014 and 2015. Silicon amendment improved rice yields, as did chlorantraniliprole seed treatment and use of the hybrid variety.
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