Poverty brome (Bromus sterilis L.) [sterile or barren brome, syn. Anisantha sterilis (L.) Nevski] is a problematic UK arable weed. There are currently no confirmed cases of glyphosate resistance in any weed species in the United Kingdom or in B. sterilis worldwide. However, there are reports of poor control by glyphosate in this species. Here, we report experiments to confirm the suspected on-farm resistance of B. sterilis populations to glyphosate. Glyphosate screening and dose–response experiments established that glyphosate sensitivity of three UK B. sterilis populations exhibiting poor field control is outside the normal range of sensitivity of 30 sensitive populations and adjacent unexposed populations. Control of sensitive populations ranged from 49% to 82% and for suspected resistant populations from 21% to 30%. Dose–response ED50 values of sensitive populations ranged between 241 and 313 g ai ha − 1; corresponding values of suspected resistant populations ranged between 420 and 810 g ha − 1, and resistance indices ranged from 1.55 to 4.5. Suspected resistant populations were incompletely controlled at the recommended field rate of glyphosate (540 g ha − 1), while adjacent unexposed populations were completely controlled. We conclude that some UK populations of B. sterilis have reduced glyphosate sensitivity and are in the process of evolving resistance. This is the first reported case of reduced glyphosate sensitivity in any UK weed species and in B. sterilis worldwide. This, coupled with increasing glyphosate use, highlights the need for increased vigilance and monitoring for glyphosate resistance in the United Kingdom.
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Vol. 67 • No. 1