The effects of both barley and Lolium rigidum densities on weed growth and spike production and on crop yield were examined in five field experiments carried out in the Mediterranean drylands of Spain and Western Australia. The aim was to check the consistency of the competitiveness of the crop in different environmental and management conditions. L. rigidum reduced barley yields in most of the experiments (between 0 and 85%), the number of ears per m2 being the most affected. It was found that increasing the barley seeding rate did not reduce the crop losses but did limit weed biomass (between 5 and 61%) and spike production (between 24 and 85%). The variability observed in crop yield losses between sites and seasons was related to rainfall at the beginning of the season. The most sensitive component of yield to weed competition was the number of ears per plant.