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, service climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that only a small portion of north central Kansas missed the snow entirely. Unfortunately, the amounts were limited in the northern parts of the state. Heaviest snowfalls were in southwest Kansas at the end of the period.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a pronounced splice line in eastern Kansas. Areas of lower NDVI readings are most concentrated in the area from Norton and Phillips counties south to Trego and Ellis counties. The lower NDVI values in the east are a result of the splicing issues.
Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows above-average NDVI values in the southwestern counties. This area has had warmer- and wetter-than-average conditions for the period. The lower photosynthetic activity depicted in northeast Kansas is largely due to the splicing issue.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that a narrow area of southeastern South Dakota and eastern Nebraska missed the snow. The western portions of the Corn Belt have lower snow amounts that the areas east of the Missouri River.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest increase in NDVI readings is in southwestern Minnesota. The difference is due to snowfall. This year the area has had half the snow reported last year. In southeastern Nebraska, where NDVI values are lower, the opposite is true. Lincoln reported almost three times the snow this year compared to last.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the impact of snow cover. Higher-than-average NDVI readings are visible from South Dakota through southwestern Minnesota, where snow cover is lower-than-average. From southern Missouri through northern Ohio, lower NDVI readings prevail.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow is very limited in the Mountain West. This is particularly noticeable from Washington through California.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that lack of snow in the West has resulted in higher photosynthetic activity. The higher photosynthetic activity in south Texas is due to improved drought conditions with more favorable temperatures and precipitation.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period February 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that much higher-than-average vegetative activity prevails in the West. This increased biomass production brings concerns for worsening drought in the region. The lack of snow pack is significant. Current snow cover in the Intermountain region is less than 6 percent compared to 30 percent last year.
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)