Grains Research and Development

Barnyard grass

Barnyard grass  (Echinochloa spp)


Mature plant of E. colona
(Photo A. Storrie)

Of the top five weeds considered to be most troublesome to world agriculture, two belong to the genus Echinochloa: awnless barnyard grass (Echinochloa colona) and barnyard grass (E. crus-galli).

Echinochloa colona

In Australia, E. colona is an important weed in rice, sugarcane, maize, sorghum and summer fallow.

Echinochloa colona is a problem for a number of reasons:

  • Germinates over a range of soil temperatures and grows rapidly
  • Is a very competitive plant
  • One plant may produce up to 42 000 seeds
  • Is a host to disease

Echinochloa crus-galli

Echinochloa crus-galli is a problem for a number of reasons:

  • Causes crop failures and yield reductions
  • Can produce over 40 000 seeds per plant
  • Has evolved resistance to a range of herbicides
  • Can cause problems at harvest, interfering with mechanical harvesting
  • Contaminated seed is probably the most common dispersal method
  • Is a disease host
  • Is difficult to control as a mature plant

Further detail about this weed including integrated weed management tactics that could be considered when developing a management plan can be found in the section on problem weeds in the Integrated Weed Management Manual.

Further information

Ecology and biology of common weeds are outlined in section 6 of the Integrated Weed Management Manual.

GRDC fact sheets and other publications

Managing herbicide resistance in grass weeds in the northern region (2009)

Update papers

Weeds and resistance considerations for awnless barnyard grass chloris and fleabane (2014)

Weeds and resistance considerations for awnless barnyard grass, chloris spp and fleabane management (July 2013)

Glyphosate - the fallow tool we can't afford to lose (2009)

GRDC Video links

Webinar on latest research on managing barnyard grass (December 2014)

Barnyard grass (2012)

Double knock applications - target weed species & application strategy (2013) - Michael Widderick, DAFFQ Weed Specialist on the principle behind the 'double knock' for controlling summer weeds such as feathertop Rhodes grass, barnyard grass and flaxleaf fleabane.

Other information

Barnyard grass information - three papers on the NGA website

  • Barnyard grass control – ecology, double-knock and the future (M Widderick)
  • Impacts glyphosate (Gp M) resistant barnyard grass has on management (G Onus)
  • Barnyard grass management – strategies to consider (R Daniel)

Glyphosate resistance in barnyard grass (2012), Hoan Nguyen Thai, Jenna Malone, Peter Boutsalis and Christopher Preston, Eighteenth Australasian Weeds Conference

Managing difficult to control weeds in summer crops, Proceedings from the 1st Australian Summer Grains Conference, 2010)

Management of barnyard grass and liverseed grass (DAFF Qld, 2007)

Prolonging glyphosate effectiveness on difficult to control summer weeds, Proceedings from the 16th Australian weeds Conference, 2008)