Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Update

Yellowed Corn in Ohio Fields

Published on Friday, June 10, 2016

A common service call I have received over the past week is yellowed corn. What causes yellow corn? Should you be concerned? What is important to remember is that the type of yellowing you see on your corn will be indicative of what caused the yellowing.

Nutrient deficiency is a common cause as lack of nitrogen (N) in the corn plant often causes yellowing. However, sulfur and zinc deficiencies can result in yellowing as well. One way to distinguish N deficiency from that of sulfur or zinc is to determine which leaves the yellowing is found on. Yellowing due to a lack of N will be found on older leaves while zinc and sulfur deficiencies will be found on younger leaf tissue. The best way to differentiate between sulfur and zinc deficiency is through tissue testing.

Nitrogen deficiency in corn

Sulfur and zinc deficiency show similar symptoms 

Yellowing on corn plants can also be noted while the plant is young and the root system is still developing. Once this root system develops, the corn will have better access to water and nutrients and thus, the yellowing will decrease.

A third cause of yellowing corn in your fields could be a result of the rapid growth syndrome. Rapid growth syndrome typically occurs when warm sunny weather follows cool, wet weather. When this happens, the upper leaves wrap up and turn yellow due to a lack of photosynthetic activity. The plant will outgrow this yellowing and it will not result in yield loss.


If you have any questions or concerns about yellowing corn in your fields, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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Alex Knight

Alex Knight

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