Authors: Mary Knapp, Kevin Price, Nan An
K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL) produces weekly Vegetation Condition Report maps. These maps can be a valuable tool for making crop selection and marketing decisions.
Two short videos of Dr. Kevin Price explaining the development of these maps can be viewed on YouTube at:
The objective of these reports is to provide users with a means of assessing the relative condition of crops and grassland. The maps can be used to assess current plant growth rates, as well as comparisons to the previous year and relative to the 24-year average. The report is used by individual farmers and ranchers, the commodities market, and political leaders for assessing factors such as production potential and drought impact across their state.
NOTE TO READERS: The maps below represent a subset of the maps available from the EASAL group. If you’d like digital copies of the entire map series please contact Kevin Price at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can place you on our email list to receive the entire dataset each week as they are produced. The maps are normally first available on Wednesday of each week, unless there is a delay in the posting of the data by EROS Data Center where we obtain the raw data used to make the maps. These maps are provided for free as a service of the Department of Agronomy and K-State Research and Extension.
The maps in this issue of the newsletter show the current state of photosynthetic activity in Kansas, the Corn Belt, and the continental U.S., with comments from Mary Knapp, state climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow lingered much later than is typical. All of this was in the first week of the two-week period of this report. What is particularly unusual is the snow in southeast Kansas. In northwest Kansas, snow totals were higher, with some locations reporting more than 5 inches.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for September April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that only a few areas in central and southeast Kansas have greater biomass productivity than last year. Cooler temperatures in April and the first half of May significantly delayed plant development.
Figure 3. Compared to the 24-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows slightly above average productivity in east central and southeast Kansas, which had the greatest precipitation. In western Kansas, the combination of cooler temperatures and dry conditions has hindered plant development.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that there was a narrow band of significant snowfall across Nebraska, parts of Kansas and Missouri, into Iowa and Wisconsin. Colder temperatures prevailed in the northern portion of the Corn Belt, but snow cover was not as extensive.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the growing season continues to be much later across much of the region. Only parts of southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and western Kentucky are slightly higher than last year in productivity. Recent warm temperatures are likely to increase the photosynthetic activity across the region.
Figure 6. Compared to the 24-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the biggest decrease in photosynthetic activity can be seen in the north central portions of the region. Cooler temperatures and later-than-usual snow melt have combined to delay plant activity.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that an area of the Central Rockies through the upper Midwest had a late season snowstorm. On the 2nd of May, stations in southeastern Wyoming were reporting snow depths of up to 19 inches.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that much of the northern half of the country had lower NDVI values. Higher NDVI values are concentrated in southeastern Texas, western Tennessee, and Florida. The Pacific Northwest also has higher photosynthetic activity than last year. Much lower-than-normal late season snow packs have resulted in greater photosynthetic activity.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 24-year average for the period April 30 – May 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that largest area of lower-than-average photosynthetic activity is in the central part of the country, from southern Texas northward into Minnesota. There is a second area of below-average productivity in West Virginia and Virginia. In Virginia, a combination of heavy rains and cooler-than-normal temperatures resulted in delayed planting and plant development. In some locations, minor flooding was reported.
Mary Knapp, State Climatologist
Kevin Price, Agronomy and Geography, Remote Sensing, Natural Resources, GIS
Nan An, Graduate Research Assistant, Ecology & Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL)