In summer, 2011, we investigated suspected glyphosate-resistant (GR) kochia in three chem-fallow fields (designated F1, F2, F3, each farmed by a different grower) in southern Alberta. This study characterizes glyphosate resistance in those populations, based on data from dose–response experiments. In a greenhouse experiment, the three populations exhibited a resistance factor ranging from 4 to 6 based on shoot biomass response (GR50 ratios), or 5 to 7 based on survival response (LD50 ratios). Similar results were found in a field dose–response experiment at Lethbridge, AB, in spring 2012 using the F2 kochia population. In fall 2011, we surveyed 46 fields within a 20-km radius of the three chem-fallow fields for GR kochia. In the greenhouse, populations were screened with glyphosate at 900 g ae ha−1. Seven populations were confirmed as GR, the farthest site located about 13 km from the three originally confirmed populations. An additional GR population more than 100 km away was later confirmed. Populations were screened for acetolactate synthase (ALS)–inhibitor (thifensulfuron ∶ tribenuron) and dicamba resistance in the greenhouse, with molecular characterization of ALS-inhibitor resistance in the F1, F2, and F3 populations. All GR populations were resistant to the ALS-inhibiting herbicide, but susceptible to dicamba. ALS-inhibitor resistance in kochia was conferred by Pro197, Asp376, or Trp574 amino acid substitutions. Based upon a simple empirical model with a parameter for selection pressure, calculated from weed relative abundance and glyphosate efficacy, and a parameter for seedbank longevity, kochia, wild oat, and green foxtail were the top three weeds, respectively, predicted at risk of selection for glyphosate resistance in the semiarid Grassland region of the Canadian prairies; wild oat, green foxtail, and cleavers species were predicted at greatest risk in the subhumid Parkland region. This study confirms the first occurrence of a GR weed in western Canada. Future research on GR kochia will include monitoring, biology and ecology, fitness, mechanism of resistance, and best management practices.
Nomenclature: Dicamba; glyphosate; thifensulfuron; tribenuron; cleavers: false cleavers, Galium spurium L. or catchweed bedstraw, Galium aparine L.; green foxtail, Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv.; kochia, Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad. KCHSC, synonym: Bassia scoparia (L.) A.J. Scott.; wild oat, Avena fatua L.