Ryegrass resistance to glyphosate and amitrole is becoming common in New Zealand vineyards
Keywords:weeds, herbicide resistance, wine, pesticide, Lolium perenne, Lolium multiflorum
The prevalence of herbicide resistance in ryegrass (Lolium spp.) in the wine-growing regions in New Zealand is poorly understood. Cases of glyphosate, glufosinate and amitrole-resistant ryegrass were documented in a few vineyards in New Zealand in 2013, but there have been no regional surveys for resistance. To address this knowledge gap, 106 vineyards were visited across the important New Zealand wine-growing regions of Marlborough and Waipara in late February 2021, and Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne in late February 2022, and seed samples from individual plants at each site surviving weed-control measures were collected. Ryegrass was found in more South Island (68%) than North Island (20%) vineyards. These seeds, and those from a susceptible ryegrass population were sown in marked rows into trays (10-20 seeds per herbicide) and grown in a glasshouse. When seedlings reached the 3-4 leaf stage, trays were sprayed at the highest recommended label rate of glyphosate. Samples with enough seed were also screened against additional herbicides, amitrole, glufosinate or clethodim. The results indicated 39% of the surveyed vineyards contained glyphosate-resistant ryegrass, with cases detected across all regions, including 58% of vineyards in Marlborough. Eleven of the 27 Marlborough vineyards screened contained amitrole-resistant ryegrass; six samples were also resistant to glyphosate. However, glufosinate and clethodim were still effective against ryegrass at the sites tested. Considering the levels of herbicide resistance to ryegrass observed in this study, growers should explore alternative weed-suppression measures, including tilling, cover-crops, grazing, mowing and the use of herbicides with different modes of action.