For the first time, glyphosate weed resistance has turned up in the United Kingdom. To make matters worse, this is the first time that glyphosate resistance has been detected in the grass weed sterile brome anywhere in the world.
The instance of resistance is being characterized as “reduced glyphosate sensitivity,” and the population is “in the process of evolving resistance,” according to a report on the Farmers Weekly website.
The conclusions were reached by scientists at the Rothamsted Research and Adas, a crop consulting firm.
“The team of researchers – Laura Davies from Adas and Richard Hull, Stephen Moss and Paul Neve from Rothamsted – looked at sterile brome in areas including Rutland, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire,” according to Farmers Weekly.
Their results were published in the Weed Science Society of America’s 2018 journal.
“We believe these results are a timely reminder of the risks associated with increased glyphosate use, providing an early indication of the need for stewardship of glyphosate use,” according to the authors.
Until now, many assumed that the UK was at a low risk of developing glyphosate resistance. For one thing, it was mostly used in combinations with other herbicides. Plus, the nation’s crop rotation patterns did not typically include back-to-back plantings of Roundup-resistant crops. But glyphosate use has increased and in 2016 about 6.8 million acres received an application, according to the article.
The weed in question – sterile brome – is also known as poverty brome or barren brome and “has become a problematic weed in the UK due to the popularity of minimum tillage, the rise in winter cereal cropping and lack of effective herbicides.”
The report is entitled “The first cases of evolving glyphosate resistance in UK poverty brome (Bromus sterilis) populations” and is published in the Weed Science Society of America, 2018.