Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Herbicide residues in Australian grain cropping soils at sowing and their relevance to crop growth

Rose, M.T., Zhang, P., Rose, T.J., Scanlan, C., McGrath, G. and Van Zwieten, L. (2022) Herbicide residues in Australian grain cropping soils at sowing and their relevance to crop growth. Science of The Total Environment, 833 . Art. 155105.

PDF - Authors' Version
Embargoed until April 2024.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Herbicides are used extensively in Australian grain cropping systems. Despite occasional observations of herbicide-induced phytotoxicity, there is little information on the persistence and carryover of multiple herbicide classes in cropping soils and the risk to subsequent crops. Two soil surveys were conducted in 2015 (n = 40) and 2016 (n = 42) across different Australian grain cropping fields prior to sowing of winter crops, and soil samples analysed for herbicide residues (16 analytes in 2015 and 22 analytes in 2016). Samples in 2015 were taken at two depth (0–10 cm and 10-30 cm), whilst samples in 2016 were taken in topsoil (0–10 cm) only, but from two discrete locations in each field. Our research in both years found at least one herbicide (or herbicide metabolite) residue at all sites, with a median of 6 analytes detected in 2015 and 7 analytes detected in 2016. The most frequently detected residues were glyphosate and its primary breakdown product aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), in 87 and 100%, respectively, of topsoil (0–10 cm) samples in 2015, and 67 and 93% of samples in 2016. The median concentration of glyphosate in 2015 was 0.12 mg kg−1, while AMPA was 0.41 mg kg−1. In 2016, median concentrations of glyphosate and AMPA were 0.22 mg kg−1 and 0.31 mg kg−1. Residues of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, trifluralin and diflufenican were also detected in >40% of topsoil samples in both seasons, but with median concentrations of <0.05 mg kg−1. A literature review found limited availability of phytotoxicity thresholds for major grain crops exposed to soilborne herbicide residues. A risk assessment using available thresholds suggested that although up to 29% of fields contained trifluralin residues that could constrain cereal crop growth, and 24% of fields contained residues of phenoxy or sulfonylureas that could affect dicotyledonous crops, the majority of these fields when planted with tolerant crops would be unlikely to be affected by herbicide residues. More work is required to ascertain the spatial distribution, bioavailability and phytotoxicity of residues and residue mixtures to enable a more accurate agronomic risk assessment.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Agricultural Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier B.V.
Item Control Page Item Control Page