Nitrogen deficiency

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General light green colour and sparse canopy, compared with N-fertilized crop behind (J. O'Sullivan).

Yellowing, wilting and drying up of oldest leaves, and purple veins on young leaves are common symptoms (J. Low).

Diagnostic summary

  • What you see on plants

- overall pale, dull appearance and small leaf size.

- slow establishment and ground cover.

- some older leaves may turn yellow and slightly wilted, then drop off.

- increased purple pigmentation of young leaves, especially veins, and sometimes apparent only on the undersurface.

  • Common on soils with low organic matter, or soils which have been cropped for some time without adequate fertilisation or manuring.

  • Applying urea to a test area (such as one row within the crop) should make it visibly greener.

Characteristics and occurrence


Confusion with other symptoms

Diagnostic tests



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