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 25-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, service climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the most active biomass production is confined to the eastern part of the state. There is also a small area of active biomass production in southwestern Finney County, where irrigated alfalfa is prevalent.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a very distinct splice line in southeast Kansas, due to cloud contamination. The most notable feature is the much lower NDVI values in the central third of the state. The biggest decrease is visible in south central Kansas, where wheat conditions are much less favorable than last year. Statewide, wheat conditions were reported to be 61 % poor to very poor this year.
Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the entire state has below-average biomass production. Central and South Central Divisions are showing the greatest decrease in photosynthetic activity. This is a result of the cooler-than-average temperatures for the spring to date, coupled with a late freeze (May 13th), and drought conditions.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the southern portions of the region have the highest NDVI values. Favorable temperatures and moisture in those areas have allowed for active biomass production. To the north, continued cold temperatures have delayed planting and delayed biomass production.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the largest area of increased productivity is in western South Dakota and the Nebraska Panhandle. Favorable moisture has increased vegetative activity in these regions. These areas are drought-free, and unlike North Dakota have had more typical temperatures.
Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that below-average vegetative activity is most noticeable in the central portion of the region. Cold temperatures have delayed activity to the north, while drought has reduced production to the south.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that West Virginia and eastern Kentucky have the greatest NDVI values. In the central Ohio River Valley and along the central Mississippi Basin, excessive soil moisture has delayed activity. The area of high biomass production in Northern California continues to decrease.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the Northern Plains has higher NDVI values, due mainly to more favorable moisture conditions. By contrast, the Northeast has lower biomass production, due to the persistent cold weather. In southern Kansas and central Oklahoma, the decrease is due to drought. The triangle of increased NDVI values from southwestern Missouri through Louisiana is an artifact of cloud contamination.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period May 13 – 26 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the central U.S. has the greatest level of below-average biomass activity. From central Nebraska to central Texas the major cause is drought. To the north, the major culprit is continued colder-than-normal temperatures.
Mary Knapp, Agronomy, Weather Data Library
Kevin Price, Professor Emeritus, Agronomy and Geography, Remote Sensing, GIS
Nan An, Graduate Research Assistant, Ecology & Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL)