Small grain growers searching for better weed control may look forward to 2004. That’s when Aventis anticipates that federal regulators will approve a new herbicide that controls grass in spring, winter and durum wheat.

Aventis officials briefed agronomists, crop consultants and weed scientists attending the December North Central Weed Science Society meeting in Milwaukee about the compound. Aventis has not yet given the herbicide a trade name. The company currently calls the product AEF130060.

The herbicide is a member of the sulfonylurea family. It kills weeds by disrupting the acetolactate synthase (ALS) enzyme.

The compound particularly shows promise for wild oat and green foxtail control. It also shows activity on redroot pigweed, wild mustard and volunteer canola. Herbicide application time is targeted between the tillering and jointed growth stage in wheat.

Aventis officials expect the compound to be granted an experimental use permit for 2003 and anticipate full federal registration in time for the 2004 growing season.