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 25-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 Nan An at email@example.com 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, service climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that photosynthetic activity continues to fade as we move into autumn. There is a small pocket of increased photosynthetic activity in the Arkansas River Valley on the border of Kearny and Finney counties. This corresponds to an area of alfalfa production.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that much of the state has greater photosynthetic activity. Pockets of lower NDVI values are seen across the state, however, as harvest and fall field preparation continue.
Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows above-average biomass production in the eastern parts of the state. Recent moisture in Greenwood, Labette, and Montgomery counties have favored late-season growth. Madison, in Greenwood County, has reported 9.45 inches of precipitation for September to date.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the highest biomass productivity continues to be in the southern portions of the region. This is particularly visible in southeastern Missouri. From the latest crop reports, corn in this part of the state is reported at 88 percent good to excellent condition, with soybeans at 68 percent good to excellent condition.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a pronounced splice line in central Missouri. Discounting this artifact of clouds, it is evident that higher NDVI values are most prominent in the western portions of the region. The cool, wet summer has continued to delay crop progress relative to last year. For example, in South Dakota despite a week of warmer-than-normal temperatures, corn is only 22 percent mature. This is half the 5 year average of 44 percent mature by this date.
Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the largest area of above-normal biomass production continues to be in the Dakotas. Delayed crop progress raises concerns of frost damage.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that high photosynthetic activity continues in upper New England, and along the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. In New England, temperatures ranged from 2 to 12 degrees cooler than normal for the week. Pasture conditions are rated at 56 percent good to excellent. Early frost resulted in some damage to crops, which will become more visible over time.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that, aside from the splice line, the level of photosynthetic activity in the mid-Atlantic region is lower. Abnormally dry conditions are showing in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, where conditions were more favorable last year.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period September 9 – 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the Central and Northern Plains continue to have above-average biomass productivity, with the highest values in the Dakotas. In contrast, New Mexico and Texas are showing lower-than-average biomass production. Moderate to severe drought conditions continue in Texas, and these are complicated by the flooding rains produced in New Mexico and Texas over the last two weeks. Elk, New Mexico reported 10.48 inches so far in September. The annual average for the area is just 11.88 inches.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Kevin Price, Professor Emeritus, Agronomy and Geography, Remote Sensing, GIS
Nan An, Graduate Research Assistant, Ecology & Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL)