Nutrient Deficiency and Toxicity
For optimal crop yield, producers need to recognize the symptoms of insufficient (deficiency) or excess nutrients (toxicity) in the soil. Crops are affected by immediate factors such as weather conditions or injury, excess fertilizer, pesticide drift or insect infestations which may appear to be nutrient deficiencies. It is critical to perform regular soil testing to determine nutrient levels and monitor changes in soil nutrient status. With historic soils data and information on current growing season conditions, producers, extension agents and crop advisers can more accurately assess what is affecting the crop. This page provides information and photos of the more common nutrient deficiencies and some toxicities that Montanan producers may experience.
If you have any questions about soil nutrients contact Dr. Clain Jones. If you think plant growth issues may be related to pesticide (e.g., herbicide residual in compost), please contact Noelle Orloff (994-6297) or Dr. Tim Seipel (994-4783) for assistance.
- Plant Nutrient Functions and Deficiency and Toxicity Symptoms
MSU Extension bulletin
- Plant Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms MSU Lives & Landscapes article
- Visual assessment flow charts
- Nutri-Facts are fact sheets written by scientific staff of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) that focus on essential plant nutrients and their use. They discuss limiting conditions, and deficiency and toxicity symptoms.
Photos of Specific Nutrients
- Acidic soil/Al & Mn toxicity