The introduction of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) techniques and associated machinery has enabled the routine use of an alternative weed control technology at a novel weed control timing in global grain cropping fields. Driven by the significant threat of widespread populations of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) with multiple-herbicide resistance, in the 1990s Australian growers and researchers developed techniques to target, at grain harvest, the seed production of annual ryegrass and other important weed species. The HWSC approach to weed management is now routinely used by a majority of Australian grain producers as an integral component of effective weed control programs. Here we detail the development and introduction of current HWSC systems and describe their efficacy in Australian grain production systems. The use of HWSC has likely contributed to lower annual ryegrass population densities and thus mitigated the impacts of herbicide resistance as well as slowing further evolution of resistance. In addition, low weed densities enable the introduction of site-specific weed control technologies and the opportunity to target specific in-crop weeds with non-selective alternative weed control techniques. With an awareness of the evolutionary potential of weed species to adapt to all forms of weed control, there is an understanding that HWSC treatments need to be judiciously used in grain cropping systems to ensure their ongoing efficacy. The successful use of Australian developed HWSC systems has attracted global interest and there is now a considerable international research effort aimed at introducing this alternative weed control approach and timing into the world's major cropping systems.