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 June 2 – 15, 2015 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that vegetative activity has continued to increase across the state. There are areas of low biomass production in eastern Kansas that align with stream areas that are at high levels due to heavy rains in May. Meanwhile higher NDVI values are visible along the stream beds of west central and southwest Kansas, where rainfall has been higher-than average but not as excessive.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for June 2 - 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows biomass production is much higher across much of the state. It is particularly noticeable in southwest and south central Kansas. Last year, precipitation didn’t pick up until late June. This year, moisture in the region is averaging 120 to 150 percent of normal. In northeast Kansas, excess moisture continues to hinder both planting and crop development.
Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the western divisions have the greatest increase over normal photosynthetic activity. While precipitation in this region is much above normal, it has not been quite as excessive as in the Northeastern Division. Warmer temperatures and drier weather over the central part of the state toward the end of the period has resulted in a moderate increase in photosynthetic activity.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that lowest photosynthetic activity is across the center of the region, from southern Minnesota through western Ohio. This region has seen cooler-than-normal temperatures for much of the period and that continues to delay crop progress.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows much of the region has much lower biomass production. The eastern parts of the region, particularly Ohio, Indiana, and northern Kentucky, have much lower photosynthetic activity. The greatest increase in photosynthetic activity is in North Dakota and western Kansas.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the eastern portion of the region has much below-average photosynthetic activity. Cool, wet conditions continue to slow plant development in eastern South Dakota and in Illinois and Ohio.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that high photosynthetic activity is most visible in the New England area and along the Pacific Northwest. Plant development has been favored by the warmer-than-normal temperatures. There is also an area of high photosynthetic activity in Arizona and New Mexico in response to increased precipitation in the region.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows lower photosynthetic activity in the eastern regions from Illinois through the Atlantic Seaboard. Cool spring temperatures have delayed biomass development. In the West, from Oregon through California, differences have been minimal. Conditions were poor last year and continue to be poor this year.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period June 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows much of the country has close-to-average photosynthetic activity. Washington and Idaho stand out with higher-than-average biomass production, as early snowmelt and heavier-than-usual rainfall have reduced some of the drought impacts. Lower-than-average biomass production is concentrated in the Ohio River Valley, where cooler temperatures and saturated soils have slowed plant development.
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)