The 40 million hectare southern Australian winter cropping region suffers from widespread infestation by Lolium rigidum
(commonly known as annual or rigid ryegrass), a Mediterranean species initially introduced as a pasture plant. Along with its high competitiveness within crops, rapid adaptability and widespread resistance to herbicides, the dormancy of its seeds means that L. rigidum
is the primary weed in southern Australian agriculture. With the individuals within a L. rigidum
population exhibiting varying levels of seed dormancy, germination can be staggered across the crop-growing season, making complete weed removal virtually impossible, and ensuring that the weed seed bank is constantly replenished. By understanding the processes involved in induction and release of dormancy in L. rigidum
seeds, it may be possible to develop strategies to more effectively manage this pest without further stretching herbicide resources. This review examines L. rigidum
seed dormancy and germination from a weed-management perspective and explains how the seed bank can be depleted by control strategies encompassing all stages in the lifecycle of a seed, from development to germination.