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 26-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 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, assistant state climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that photosynthetic activity is greatest in the South Central Division and Cherokee County. Impacts from the Easter freeze will be slow in developing.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the greatest increase in southeast Kansas. Mild temperatures and favorable moisture in the region have favored vegetative development.
Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that greater-than-average vegetative activity is greatest in the southern portion of Kansas. Sumner and Cowley counties are major exceptions and are the areas where some of the coldest temperatures and longest durations of freezing temperatures occurred.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that biomass production is greatest in central Kentucky and southeastern Missouri. Favorable temperature and rainfall have resulted in more active photosynthesis in these regions.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin have the greatest increase in photosynthetic activity. Most of this is driven by lower snow cover in these areas. In the eastern portion of the Upper Peninsula snow cover is closer to last year and so is the photosynthetic activity.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows pockets of below-average biomass production in north central Kansas, western Illinois, northeastern Ohio, and the eastern side of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the eastern portions of the region, this decrease is due to persistent snow. In north central Kansas, the combination of winterkill and dry soils have slowed plant productivity.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest level of photosynthetic activity is in the Southeastern region and along the Pacific Coast from Oregon through central California. This increased photosynthetic activity along the West Coast continues to raise drought concerns in the region, as it marks a much earlier end to the snow season, with lower water supplies expected. There is an area of lower photosynthetic activity along the central part of the Mississippi. Flood advisories continue in these areas.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that areas of lower photosynthetic activity are most noticeable along the coast of Washington and along the Gulf Coast from central Texas through northern Florida. These areas have seen higher precipitation. In the Upper Midwest, low snow amounts have resulted in higher photosynthetic activity.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period March 13 – April 13 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows areas of below-average photosynthetic activity in upper New England and pockets of the south. High precipitation in these areas has resulted in flood waters in the south and higher snow cover in New England. Along the Washington coast, rainfall has been plentiful, but snow has been lacking. This will result in lower stream flows.
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)