Lolium rigidum (annual ryegrass) is a widespread annual crop weed that has evolved high levels of resistance to selective herbicides. Anecdotal evidence suggests that intensive cropping also leads to higher seed dormancy in L. rigidum. This was quantified by measuring dormancy levels in L. rigidum populations collected from paired sites (one with nil to low cropping intensity, the other intensively cropped) located throughout the Western Australian grain belt.
Populations from non‐cropped fields or those with low cropping intensity showed higher and faster germination than populations from fields with a medium‐ or high‐intensity cropping regime. Resistance to selective herbicides was also higher in the medium‐ and high‐intensity cropping fields than in the low‐intensity cropping fields.
High‐intensity cropping systems are likely to impose greater selection pressures for seed dormancy and selective herbicide resistance, because late‐emerging seedlings avoid preplanting weed control practices (tillage and non‐selective herbicide application) but are exposed to selective in‐crop herbicides. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry