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 June 6 – June 12, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows increased photosynthetic activity across much of the state. The greatest area of high vegetative activity is in the eastern third of the state, where temperatures have been favorable.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for June 6 – June 12, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows a mix of conditions. In parts of northwest and west central Kansas, much lower NDVI values are visible. Saturated soils delayed spring planting/emergence in much of this area. Higher NDVI values in the southeast reflect the more favorable moisture and warmer temperatures that have prevailed this year.
Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 6 – June 12, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory there is near normal activity across eastern parts of the state. Wetter-than-normal conditions have slowed spring planting in the northern parts of the state, and excessive moisture has dampened vegetative activity.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for June 6 – June 12, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the area of highest NDVI is confined to the South, particularly in east Texas and Louisiana northward into Arkansas and Missouri. A second area of high vegetative activity is also visible along the West Coast, where the wet conditions continue. Low NDVI values are visible along the central Mississippi River Valley, where flooding continues to be an issue, and in the Ohio River Valley, where planting was delayed and flash drought conditions are developing.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for June 6 – June 12, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the increasing drought in eastern Montana and the Dakotas. Warm, windy conditions have further stressed range that never emerged from winter dormancy.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period of June 6 – June 12, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average photosynthetic activity moving eastward and concentrated in the Northern Plains. Areas from Montana through southwestern Minnesota are showing much below-average NDVI values due mainly to persistent dry conditions. Rainfall from late this week has not yet had an impact on the vegetation. Below-average vegetative activity in western Wyoming, central Idaho, and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest is due to persistent snow pack.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist