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Corn is the most widely grown crop in the United States with about 92 million acres of land dedicated to growing it. Once the corn crop is harvested, it is processed to make various products such as ethanol, livestock feed, corn starch, and plastics.

The most common nutrient deficiencies in corn are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. To reach maturity and maximize yield, corn requires various nutrients throughout the growing season.  

Use the images below to diagnose nutrient deficiencies in your corn fields.  

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nitrogen is mobile in the plant. Symptoms will appear as chlorosis first on lower leaves.
Phosphorus is mobile in the plant. Symptoms will appear as purpling in a young corn plant first on lower leaves. Some hybrids appear purple at the seedling stage so a tissue test is essential for proper diagnosis.
Potassium is mobile within the plant, causing deficiency symptoms to appear first in older leaves. Leaf symptoms appear as yellowing to necrosis on the outer edge of leaves.
Sulfur is immobile in the plant. Symptoms of interveinal yellowing and leaf striping will appear on the younger leaves. Plants will appear stunted and light green in appearance. Normally will see sulfur deficiencies on sandy soils
Zinc is immobile in the plant. Symptoms of white interveinal striping while midribs stay green and shortened internodes. Symptoms will appear on the younger leaves. Conditions that favor zinc deficient plants high phosphorus and pH soils, root limiting conditions.
Boron improves seed set under stressful conditions and is an important component of cell walls. Symptoms will appear as brittle leaves and small dead spots.

Additional Resources

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