The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has approved a Section 24(c) registration in the state for the use of DuPont Accent herbicide on switchgrass to control weeds that can hinder switchgrass production, including signalgrass, johnsongrass and foxtail.

Increased production of switchgrass is expected to support the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, a state-sponsored plan to decrease dependency on foreign oil through domestic production of sustainable biofuels.

“This registration is an example of how DuPont herbicides can contribute to biofuels production,” said James C. Collins, vice-president and general manager, DuPont Crop Protection. “DuPont is committed to supporting society’s growing needs for food and energy with improved inputs like seed genetics and crop protection, as well as advanced biofuels outputs like those being produced from Tennessee switchgrass.”

The registration was requested by the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and DuPont Crop Protection. It was granted based on the lack of available herbicides for effectively controlling grasses and the performance of Accent, which has been evaluated for efficacy against grass weeds in Tennessee for the past three years.

University of Tennessee trials show increased yields of 49 to 76 percent on varieties of switchgrass with the use of Accent, which was originally registered for use in controlling tall grasses in corn.

“Switchgrass, an annual grass, is slow to establish, making weed control critical during the first two years of growth,” said Neil Rhodes, professor and Extension weed specialist, University of Tennessee. “Using Accent for successful weed control will be vital to our switchgrass producers and to the success of our pilot program. DuPont has been a very helpful partner in this whole effort.

“Most economists and energy policy experts firmly believe that cellulosic ethanol will be critical if we are to make serious increases in ethanol production without destabilizing our feed grain stocks and the industries which are dependent on these stocks,” Rhodes said. “Switchgrass shows great promise for sustainable cellulosic ethanol production.”