Previous research in barley has shown variable responses to elicitors. However, a recent trial in oilseed rape has shown encouraging results when controlling light leaf spot.
Elicitors, when applied to the plant, induce resistance to pathogens that cause disease in crops.
“In oilseed rape there is much better response to the application of elicitors on their own,” said Neil Havis from the SAC.
“Used in a combination with conventional fungicides it is possible to reduce rates and still achieve good control of light leaf spot and that may be useful in prolonging the life of the chemistry we have,” he explained.
At present, elicitors are not available commercially in the UK and with registration costly, this may remain the case.
“We need to get the government bodies responsible for registration on board because fungicide use cannot be reduced without a viable alternative.
“We also need to convince farmers and growers that these elicitor products are of benefit to them,” said Dr Havis.