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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, assistant state climatologist:
Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the highest NDVI values are in the eastern third of the state. Small areas of lower photosynthetic activity can be seen along the streambed of the Neosho River, where flooding has been a problem.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows higher biomass production for most of the state. The greatest increase in photosynthetic activity has been in the Southwest and South Central Divisions. Year-to-date precipitation is approximately one-and-a-half times normal this year compared to just a third of normal last year.
Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that photosynthetic activity is close to average for most of the state. The largest area of below-average activity is in the North Central Division. The precipitation pattern has quickly switched from much lower-than-average to very wet. This, combined with cooler than average temperatures in May, has delayed plant development.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest NDVI values are concentrated in eastern Kentucky and eastern Ohio. Favorable moisture and temperature patterns have resulted in very active biomass production. Cold temperatures have limited development in the Northern Plains.
Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows South Dakota has the largest area of lower photosynthetic activity. Colder spring temperatures coupled with lower moisture have limited plant activity.
Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows South Dakota has below-average photosynthetic activity. Freezing temperatures were reported there as late as May 19th.
Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the highest level of photosynthetic activity is in the Appalachians, where temperatures and moisture have been favorable. In Texas and Oklahoma, excessive moisture has limited plant development, particularly in east Texas. Cooler-than-average temperatures have slowed plant development in the Ohio River Valley and in the Northern Plains.
Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the sharpest contrast in Texas and Oklahoma. Heavy rains in these states have had a favorable impact in the western portions, where extreme drought has been persistent in recent years. In the eastern portions, the rains have been excessive. This has resulted in widespread flooding.
Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period May 12– 25 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the differences from last year are still visible. Cold conditions have limited plant development in much of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Excessive moisture is the major culprit in the Southern Plains from Oklahoma to Texas and Louisiana. In contrast, drought conditions are limiting vegetative activity in northern California and Oregon.
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)