Symptom Identification Key for Nutrient Deficiencies in Soybeans

Use the following key to help identify nutrient disorders observed in Nebraska soybeans and drybeans.

Select the best descriptor for your plant symptoms. (Photos courtesy of the International Plant Nutrition Institute except as noted.) BACK to Soils page


Symptoms appear first or are more severe on older and/or fully expanded leaves. Select B1 or B2

B1. Symptoms are uniform across leaves. Go to D
B2. Symptoms are localized on leaves. Go to E


Symptoms appear first or are more severe on younger leaves. Select C1 or C2




Pale green to yellow plants, often with pale brown or bronze necrosis. Go to F


Dark green to bluish green leaves, often with interveinal, small lesions; drybean may have marginal chlorosis.

Phosphorus deficiency (no photo available)


Pale green plants, pale yellow leading to brown older leaves, veins are not prominent.

Nitrogen deficiency

nitrogen deficiency shown in soybeans



Pale green plants; interveinal mottling (or interveinal chlorosis in drybean) of older leaves leading to bronze necrosis; green veins.

Zinc deficiency

zinc deficiency shown in soybeans (click on image for a close-up view)



Green plants with chlorosis along the leaf margins - leading to brown interveinal necrosis in soybean; veins stay green.

Potassium deficiency

potassium deficiency shown in soybeans



Pale green plants with interveinal pale yellow mottling of the leaves followed by interveinal necrosis - or necrosis along the underside of the main veins in drybean.

Magnesium deficiency

magnesium deficiency shown in soybeans (click on image for a close-up view)



Symptoms are prominent interveinal chlorosis or necrosis; veins are prominent over length of leaf.

Iron deficiency

iron deficiency shown in soybeans(photo by UNL staff)



Pale yellow leaves with mottled interveinal chlorosis leading to dark brown necrosis.

Manganese deficiency

manganese deficiency shown in soybeans


Pale green to yellow leaflets without prominent veins or necrosis.

Sulfur deficiency (no photo available)