Traditional approaches to weed science have concentrated on weed management and weed biology to support control measures. However, the realisations that agricultural landscapes support a significant proportion of wildlife and that species of flora and fauna have co-evolved with agriculture in Europe, have led to an appreciation of the role of biodiversity in farmland. Studies of the ecology of farmland have become more mainstream, moving from the investigation of impacts on species of conservation concern, to understanding function at a range of spatial and temporal scales. With economic pressures on production and environmental pressures on external inputs to agriculture, weed research is striking out in new directions. As primary producers and the base of foodchains, novel work on plants is examining farming systems, weed seed predation, pollination, as well as food and pollination webs. New work is challenging our perceptions of weed community impacts. For example, why is it that similar maize yields can be achieved with up to an 8-fold difference in weed biomass, or that similar crop yields are achieved with organic methods? Agroecological studies may help to answer these challenges, which ultimately may usher in a post-herbicide era of crop production.