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 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, assistant state climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that photosynthetic activity is greatest in southeast Kansas, where temperatures and moisture have been most favorable. Pockets of increased vegetative activity are beginning to be visible in the eastern portions of north central Kansas, where significant moisture was received over this two-week period.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows large areas of much lower biomass production in Sedgwick, Butler, Greenwood, and Elk counties. The April 4th freeze and cooler temperatures have slowed development compared to last year.
Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that a large portion of Kansas from the Northwest Division through the South Central Division has below-averge biomass production. For much of these areas, this reduction in biomass production is a combination of winter-kill, freeze damage, and drought. Only portions of the Southwest and extreme Southeastern Divisions have higher-than-average photosynthetic activity.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest photosynthetic activity is concentrated in the south central portion of the region. Some increased photosynthetic activity is also visible in northeastern Minnesota. This is mainly due to the quick loss of snow cover in the area.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a pocket of much higher NDVI values in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Upper Great Lakes region of eastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These areas had much lower snow amounts this season, and thus have higher photosynthetic values this spring. In southern Iowa, northern and eastern Missouri, and through the Ohio River Valley, mild and wet spring conditions have favored photosynthetic activity.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows an area of below-average photosynthetic activity in south central Missouri and northern and central Kansas. Below average rainfall persists in these areas.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that an area of low photosynthetic activity continues along the central Mississippi River Valley, where flood advisories continue. In the West, moderate biomass production continues along the coast from central California to Washington. Photosynthetic activity remains limited from the Northern Plains to the Panhandle of Texas and westward towards the Rockies.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows increased photosynthetic activity in the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Great Lakes and west Texas. For the northern areas, this increase is due mainly to lower snow amounts. In Texas, this increase is due to recent moisture. That moisture has favored rapid greenup. In all cases, the question is how quickly the available moisture will be depleted. Chances for continued favorable moisture are better in the Southern Plains than in the Northern Plains, or in the Pacific Northwest.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period April 14 – 27 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows pockets of belo- normal photosynthetic activity in the Central Plains and the Central Valley of California that are due mainly to drought. The small band of below-normal photosynthetic activity in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming is more the result of recent snow events.
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)