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 June 16 - 29 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 plant development.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for June 16 - 29 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. In northwest Kansas an area of lower NDVI values remains. This corresponds to lingering moderate drought in this region.
Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 16 - 29 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that most of the state has a fairly average level of photosynthetic activity. The western divisions have the greatest increase over normal photosynthetic activity. While precipitation in this region is above normal, it has not been quite as excessive as in the Northeastern Division, so has not been limiting. Lower NDVI values are seen in Sheridan and Graham counties, where moderate drought persists. In contrast, the lower NDVI values in Brown and Doniphan counties are due to continued higher-than-normal precipitation.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for June 16 - 29 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a high level of photosynthetic activity across the northern areas of the region from Minnesota through northern Michigan. 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 16 - 29 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows much of the region has much lower biomass production. North Dakota stands out in contrast, with much higher biomass production across much of the state. Dry conditions, which favored planting were replaced by favorable temperatures and precipitation, which spurred biomass development. According to the USDA Crop Condition report, 91 percent of this year’s durum wheat is in good to excellent condition.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 16 - 29 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that areas along the Missouri River basin and parts of the Ohio River basin have much lower-than-average photosynthetic activity. Excess moisture continues to slow plant development in these areas.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for June 16 - 29 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that high photosynthetic is most visible in the New England area and along the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Plant development has been favored by the warmer-than-normal temperatures. There is also an area of increased photosynthetic activity in Arizona in response to increased precipitation in the region. Pockets of low photosynthetic activity are evident where heavy rainfall has dominated in June, particularly along the Central Mississippi River Valley.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period June 16 - 29 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 western Texas, where drought conditions have improved greatly. In the West, from Oregon through California, the 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 16 - 29 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows much of the country has close to average photosynthetic activity. Washington stands out with higher-than-average biomass production, as early snowmelt and heavier-than-usual spring rainfall has reduced some of the drought impacts. Favorable moisture in the eastern Plains of Colorado into the Panhandle of Texas has resulted in higher-than-average biomass production in this area as well. 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)