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 9 – June 22, 2015 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that vegetative activity has continued to increase across the state. The highest NDVI values in western Kansas are visible along the stream beds where favorable moisture continues to spur biomass development.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for June 9 - June 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows biomass production is higher across much of the western parts of the state. It is particularly noticeable in Meade and Clark counties. 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 9 – June 22 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 have resulted in lower NDVI values as plants struggle to adapt to the rapid change where there has been limited root development.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for June 9 – June 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the highest level of photosynthetic activity is across the center of the region, from Minnesota through southern Missouri. Favorable temperatures and moisture have resulted in accelerated biomass production.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period June 9 – June 22 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, where flooded soils were not as common.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 9 – June 22 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the eastern portion of the region has below-average photosynthetic activity. Cool, wet weather continues 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 9 – June 22 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 warmer-than-normal temperatures. There is also an area of increased photosynthetic activity in Arizona and New Mexico in response to increased precipitation in the region. Pockets of low photosynthetic activity are evident where excessively heavy rainfall has dominated in June, particularly in the Ohio River Valley and along the Central Mississippi River Valley.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period June 9 – June 22 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 temperatures and saturated soils have delayed development. Higher biomass production is visible in the western High Plains from southeastern Colorado through west Texas, where drought conditions have improved greatly. In the West, from Oregon through California, changes 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 9 – June 22 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 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)