Man in dense soybean field. Examining plants for nutrient deficiency. cloudy blue sky.

Crop Nutrition

Know Your Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms

Alan Blaylock, Ph.D.

Alan Blaylock, Ph.D.


Senior Agronomist

Dr. Alan Blaylock brings extensive North American and international experience in nutrient management to the agronomy team. University studies and service as a university extension soils specialist prepared him for a long career in the fertilizer industry. Having managed both domestic and global research and education programs, Dr. Blaylock has a wealth of experience in applying science-based nutrient management principles and products to solving practical questions. Dr. Blaylock earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in agronomy and horticulture from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in soil science from Iowa State University. He has been in agriculture his entire life — from his childhood on an irrigated farm in eastern Oregon to teaching soil science at Iowa State University to his current role as an agronomist at Nutrien. These diverse experiences helped Dr. Blaylock develop the skills to excel in translating complex scientific principles into practical solutions. Although early in his university studies he explored computer science as a profession, deep family roots in agriculture brought him back to the people and values of his heritage. His career satisfaction comes from helping others improve the performance of nutrients and cropping systems.

Share This:

It’s that time in the growing season when crop scouting is at its peak. Growers should be paying close attention to crop progress and any abnormal appearance in their crops. Adverse weather conditions can affect nutrient availability and can even produce symptoms that mimic nutrient deficiencies. Nutrients have characteristic deficiencies that are closely related to their behavior and function in plants.  Deficiency symptoms of nutrients that are mobile in the plant commonly appear on lower leaves first. Deficiency symptoms of immobile nutrients normally appear on upper leaves first. When nutrient deficiencies occur, rapid diagnosis and treatment is important to preserve yield potential. Keep in mind, by the time the symptoms appear, some yield potential may have already been lost. Knowing the deficiency symptoms well can aid timely diagnosis and treatment. A recent University of Minnesota blog post provides a review of nutrient deficiency symptoms in corn and soybeans. Click here to see images and review symptom descriptions.   


Scouting for Nutrient Deficiencies in Corn and Soybean (With Photos). By: Dan Kaiser, Extension nutrient management specialist, and Paul McDivitt, Extension communications specialist. June 23, 2021.