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 24 – January 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows almost no photosynthetic activity. The little production is mainly in central 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 24 – January 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows a small area of much higher NDVI values in north central Kansas. Last year at this time, much of that area was snow covered. Lower NDVI values are most prominent in south central Kansas. The winter wheat is less advanced this year than last.
Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for January 24 – January 30, 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.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for January 24 – January 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the region of highest NDVI values is confined to the South, particularly in east Texas and Louisiana. Snow coverage has retreated to the Northern Plains, although there was a small pocket in western Texas. The Sierra Nevada of California ended January with some of the highest snowfall totals on record for the month.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for January 24 – January 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows higher NDVI values present in the mid-Atlantic states, and along the Pacific Northwest. Some splice lines due to persistent cloud cover contamination are visible in California and Florida.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period of January 24 – January 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average photosynthetic activity in the Intermountain West and the Northern Plains, where snow cover is greatest. Above-average NDVI values are visible in the central valleys of California, where recent rainfall has encouraged plant growth.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist