A herbicide resistance risk assessment for weeds in maize in New Zealand
Keywords:Zea mays, silage, agricultural chemicals, summer weeds
Despite an extensive history of research into herbicide resistance in New Zealand maize, some aspects remain understudied. Herbicide resistance was first detected in New Zealand in the 1980s in maize crops, with atrazine resistance in Chenopodium album L. and Persicaria maculosa Gray. Since then, Chenopodium album has also developed resistance to dicamba, and in the last five years Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop. populations have been reported to be resistant to nicosulfuron. Here we estimate the risk of herbicide resistance arising in 39 common maize weeds. A list of weeds associated with maize was generated, omitting uncommon weeds and those that grow outside of the maize growing season. Weeds were ranked for their risk of evolving herbicide resistance with a scoring protocol that accounts for the specific herbicides used in New Zealand maize. Seven weed species were classified as having a high risk of developing herbicide resistance: Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.Beauv., Chenopodium album, Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn., Xanthium strumarium L., Amaranthus powellii S.Watson, Solanum nigrum L. and Digitaria sanguinalis. Seventeen species were classed as moderate risk, and 15 were low risk. Herbicide classes associated with more resistant species were classed as high risk,these included acetohydroxy acid synthase inhibitors and photosystem-II inhibitors. Synthetic auxins had a moderate risk but only two herbicides in this class (dicamba and clopyralid) are registered for maize in New Zealand. Other herbicide mode-of-action groups used in maize were low risk. We recommend outreach to farmers regarding weed-control strategies that prevent high-risk species from developing resistance. High-risk herbicide groups should be monitored for losses of efficacy. Resistance surveys should focus on these species and herbicides.