The aim of this study was to test whether herbicide resistance in rigid ryegrass has led to increased densities of this weed in Western Australian (WA) cropping fields. A total of 503 wheat fields with previously unknown management history and weed status were visited prior to harvest across 15 agronomic areas of the central WA cropping belt in 1998 and 2003. Rigid ryegrass density was visually assessed and, where possible, seed was collected from the population. Ryegrass was found in 91% of the wheat crops sampled. Ryegrass populations were tested in the following year for resistance to chlorsulfuron, sulfometuron, diclofop, and clethodim. With the use of nonparametric and regression statistical methods, resistance status, including multiple-resistance status, was not found to be associated with higher weed density. The results show that growers are generally maintaining low densities in fields with herbicide-resistant rigid ryegrass. The most common rigid ryegrass density at harvest time was less than 1 plant m−2 in both resistant and susceptible populations. Field and model-based studies of weed and herbicide resistance management that allow populations to continue at very high densities are unlikely to reflect common grower practice.
Nomenclature: Chlorsulfuron; clethodim; diclofop; rigid ryegrass, Lolium rigidum Gaudin LOLRI; wheat, Triticum aestivum L