During 1970–3 three experiments with winter wheat, three with spring barley, two with permanent grass and one with perennial ryegrass measured the effects of a liquid N-fertilizer (26% N) sprayed over the leaves either alone or with a herbicide added to it. ‘Nitro-Chalk’ (21% N) was used as the standard for comparison. The liquid N-fertilizer was made from urea and ammonium nitrate; the herbicide was a mixture of dichlorprop and MCPA. Each experiment tested all combinations of the two N fertilizers applied to give 38, 75 or 113 kg N/ha without the herbicide and with either 2·8, 5·6 (recommended dose) or 8·4 1/ha of herbicide. The 24 treatments were applied to winter wheat at growth stages 4–5 of the Feekes scale, to barley at growth stage 5 and to grass in late spring and again to regrowth after cutting.
Herbicide alone sometimes scorched the leaves but seldom badly. Liquid N-fertilizer nearly always scorched the leaves and the amount of scorch was increased by adding herbicide; scorch also was increased by increasing the amount of either and so was most severe when most liquid fertilizer and most herbicide were sprayed together; this damage did not decrease yields appreciably except when only 38 kg N/ha was given.
Spraying the herbicide with the liquid fertilizer always gave slightly better weed control than herbicide alone in the wheat, but not always in the barley; in the grass, weed control was no better than from herbicide alone.
‘Nitro-Chalk’ gave larger yields of wheat grain than the liquid N-fertilizer did in seven of nine comparisons without herbicide and in 20 of 27 with it, of barley grain in five of nine comparisons without herbicide and in 15 of 27 with it, of permanent grass in 25 of 27 comparisons without herbicide and in 70 of 81 with it, and of perennial ryegrass in nine of nine comparisons without herbicide and in 25 of 27 with it. Thus herbicide did not alter the advantage that ‘Nitro-Chalk’ had.
Percentages of N in the crops were larger with ‘Nitro-Chalk’ than with the liquid N-fertilizer but were changed little by herbicide.