The weekly Vegetation Condition Report maps below can be a valuable tool for making crop selection and marketing decisions.
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 27-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.
The Vegetation Condition Report (VCR) maps were originally developed by Dr. Kevin Price, K-State professor emeritus of agronomy and geography, and his pioneering work in this area is gratefully acknowledged.
The maps have recently been revised, using newer technology and enhanced sources of data. Dr. Nan An, Imaging Scientist, collaborated with Dr. Antonio Ray Asebedo, assistant professor and lab director of the Precision Agriculture Lab in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University, on the new VCR development. Multiple improvements have been made, such as new image processing algorithms with new remotely sensed data from EROS Data Center.
These improvements increase sensitivity for capturing more variability in plant biomass and photosynthetic capacity. However, the same format as the previous versions of the VCR maps was retained, thus allowing the transition to be as seamless as possible for the end user. For this spring, it was decided not to incorporate the snow cover data, which had been used in past years. However, this feature will be added back at a later date. In addition, production of the Corn Belt maps has been stopped, as the continental U.S. maps will provide the same data for these areas. Dr. Asebedo and Dr. An will continue development and improvement of the VCRs and other advanced maps.
The maps in this issue of the newsletter show the current state of photosynthetic activity in Kansas, and the continental U.S., with comments from Mary Knapp, assistant state climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for January 10 – January 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows almost no photosynthetic activity. The little production there is shows up mainly in central Kansas. This is not unexpected given the season. The sharp line in the central part of the state is a splice line due to cloud issues.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for January 10 – January 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows much lower NDVI values in much of the state. Clouds and snow/ice cover have enhanced this pattern. The sharp line in the central part of the state is a splice line due to cloud issues.
Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for January 10 – January 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory has a pronounced line across the center of the state due to cloud issues. The below-average NDVI values in central and southwest Kansas are largely due to snow/ice coverage.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for January 10 – January 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the area of highest NDVI is confined to the South, particularly in the Florida Panhandle. Snowfall moved south to include areas of the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma, as well as parts of the Mid-Atlantic.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for January 10 – January 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows higher NDVI values on the East and West Coasts, particularly in New England and the Pacific Northwest. Rainfall has been much more plentiful this year.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period of January 10 – January 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows an area of below-average NDVI values in the South, where recent cloud cover has masked vegetative activity. NDVI values have dropped in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West as snow cover continues to increase.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist