Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An assessment of weed flora 14 years after the introduction of glyphosate-tolerant cotton in Australia

Sudheesh Manalil A B C G , Jeff Werth D , Rod Jackson E , Bhagirath Singh Chauhan A and Christopher Preston F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The Centre for Plant Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), The University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.

B School of Agriculture and Environment, Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

C Amrita University, Coimbatore, India.

D Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Leslie Research Facility, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

E Australian Cotton Research Institute, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Narrabri, NSW 2390, Australia.

F School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, SA 5064, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: s.manalil@uq.edu.au

Crop and Pasture Science 68(8) 773-780 https://doi.org/10.1071/CP17116
Submitted: 15 March 2017  Accepted: 5 September 2017   Published: 11 October 2017

Abstract

Glyphosate-tolerant (GT) cotton offers a multitude of benefits such as broad-spectrum and cost-effective weed control, simple weed management, and reduced impact on the environment. However, high adoption rates of GT cotton have led to overreliance on glyphosate in weed management and have decreased the use of other herbicide options and non-chemical weed-management strategies, possibly leading to the emergence of many resistant weeds. Previous surveys in 2006 and 2011 in the cotton-growing regions of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, Australia, indicated changes in weed populations over the period and increased prevalence of several weeds. These two surveys indicated increased dominance of Conyza bonariensis, Echinochloa colona, and Chloris virgata in these regions. Periodic weed surveys are necessary to assess weed population dynamics and shifts due to overreliance on glyphosate for weed management. A survey was carried out in the cotton-growing regions of NSW and Queensland in 2014–15, covering 135 fields. Survey results indicated the emergence of volunteer GT cotton as the most common weed present across all of the cotton-growing regions, occurring in 85% of fields, followed by E. colona (67% of fields surveyed), and C. bonariensis and Sonchus oleraceus, which were present in 51% of fields. The most prevalent grass weed after E. colona was C. virgata (37%). Broadleaf weeds Ipomoea lonchophylla and Amaranthus mitchellii were present in 40% and 37% of fields, respectively. Regional-level analysis indicated greater prevalence of Sesbania cannabina and Parthenium hysterophorus in Emerald region of Queensland. Lolium rigidum was present in the Griffith and Warren area of NSW during summer, even though it is a winter weed. The results of this study indicate integration of diversified weed-management options and inclusion of both non-chemical and chemical options because many major weeds observed in this study are tolerant to glyphosate and have already evolved resistance to glyphosate.

Additional keywords: GM crops, weed density, weed population shift.


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