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 17 – January 23, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows almost no photosynthetic activity. The little production there is shows up mainly in central Kansas, although some activity has also begun to show in extreme southeast Kansas. This is not unexpected given the season, lack of snow cover, and slightly warmer-than-normal temperatures.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for January 170 – January 23, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows much higher NDVI values from the north central to the southeastern portions of the state. Last year at this time, much of the area was snow covered. Manhattan reported 3 inches on the ground on January 23, 2016, while Parsons had an inch.
Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for January 17 – January 23, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory much of the state has near-normal vegetative activity. The highest NDVI values are in the central part of the state. The impact from recent precipitation and mild temperatures will be more visible on next week’s maps.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for January 17 – January 23, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the highest NDVI values are confined to the South, particularly in east Texas and Louisiana. Snowfall continued to include areas of the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma. The Sierra Nevada of California has some of the highest snowfall totals for mid-January on record.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for January 17 – January 23, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows that higher NDVI values are greater in the Plains, where snowfall coverage is much less than last year. In the West, the lower NDVI values are due to greater snow totals. In the east, cloud cover is more prevalent this year.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period of January 17 – January 23, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows an area of below-average photosynthetic activity 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