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 October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the most photosynthetically active region continues to be in the eastern third of the state. Higher values can also be seen on the border of Finney and Kearny counties, where irrigated alfalfa is still active. Low NDVI values are seen in Brown and Doniphan counties, where the excess moisture from previous weeks continues to have an impact.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that there is a mix of higher and lower photosynthetic activity. There is a prominent area of lower NDVI values from Wallace to Gove counties, where preparation for wheat planting is in progress, but wheat has yet to emerge. Similar conditions prevail in Butler County as well.
Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the Southeast and East Central Divisions have the greatest increase in biomass production, but above-average values also prevail in the Central Division. Mild temperatures and ample moisture continue to favor development in these areas.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that high levels of biomass productivity is confined to the northern and southern fringes of the region. In the Great Lakes region, plant development into senescence continues to be delayed. In the southern portions, favorable moisture and mild temperatures have continued to aid photosynthetic activity.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the biggest change continues to be in the western parts of the Dakotas. Impacts from last year’s unusually early and severe winter storm were still being felt, and for that reason NDVI values appear much higher this year. In Ohio, winter wheat planting has been delayed by wet conditions. Only 21 percent of the wheat has emerged compared to 51 percent last year.
Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that most of the region is very close to average. There continues to be an area of higher-than-normal biomass productivity in the western parts of the Dakotas, while Ohio has much lower-than-normal biomass productivity. In the northern portions of the region mild weather favored photosynthetic activity, while in Ohio wet conditions have delayed planting of winter wheat.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that moderate to high photosynthetic activity continues be visible along the Pacific Northwest into the mountains of California, where the snow season has had a slow start.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that higher NDVI values are visible in the area from Idaho to the western parts of the Dakotas. Last year during this period, a major winter storm reduced photosynthetic activity while this year conditions have been close to normal. In contrast, the Texas Panhandle has had greater photosynthetic activity this year due to favorable moisture and temperatures.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period October 7 – 20 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that cool, wet weather has limited photosynthetic activity in Ohio and West Virginia. Greater-than-average biomass productivity can be seen in the Northern Plains, with greatest increase in Montana and the western Dakotas. Ample moisture has also fueled high biomass production along southern New Mexico into Panhandle region of Texas.
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)