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 28-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 during November 21 – November 27, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows little vegetative activity this week since the growing season has ended. Temperatures averaged 9.5 degrees F warmer-than-normal for the week, but precipitation averaged zero with only trace amounts reported.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for November 21 – November 27, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows a decrease in vegetative activity. This is particularly true in the central and south central parts of the state where drought conditions are developing.
Figure 3. Compared to the 28-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for November 21 – November 27, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory show below-average conditions across the South Central division. A lack of moisture limited the amount of fall growth.
Due to satellite data issues, there are no national maps available this week.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist