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 October 10 – October 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows very little vegetative activity this week. The greatest areas of photosynthetic activity are in eastern Kansas, with a small pocket along the Arkansas River along the Kearney/Finney county border. As we move into fall, vegetative activity continues to decline.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for October 10 – October 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows a dramatic increase in vegetative activity. This is particularly true in the eastern third of the state.
Figure 3. Compared to the 28-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for October 10 – October 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory is close to average conditions across the state. Below-average NDVI values are visible in northeast Kansas along the Nemaha/Marshall county borders and also in south central Kansas in Edwards/Pawnee counties. These areas correspond to portions of the state that still have abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for October 10 – October 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows highest NDVI values centered along and east of the Appalachians, where rainfall has reduced drought stress. High NDVI values are also visible in the Pacific Northwest. Lower NDVI values are prominent in the Ohio River Valley into Michigan as vegetation is going dormant early.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for October 10 – October 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory again shows the impact that a split in moisture has caused this year. Much higher NDVI values are visible across the southern states. Last October, Montana and the Dakotas were moving into a dry pattern that became the start of the intense drought the dominated this year. Recent rains have resulted in some recovery in the area, particularly in South Dakota.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 28-year average for the period of October 10 – October 16, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows improvement in the drought conditions in the Northern Plains. Below-average NDVI values in Idaho, western Montana, and parts of Wyoming are the result of recent snow in the region. A decrease in average NDVI values in parts of Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois reflect the combination of dry conditions and rapid maturity of crops.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist