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 October 24 – October 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows very little vegetative activity this week as the growing season ends. Low temperatures below 30 degrees F were recorded in all parts of the state this week, with the lowest dropping to 11 degrees F.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for October 24 – October 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows an increase in vegetative activity. This is particularly true in the eastern third of the state, where precipitation was much more favorable this year.
Figure 3. Compared to the 28-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for October 24 – October 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory showed near-average conditions across the state. Higher-than-average NDVI values are visible in eastern Kansas. These values correspond to areas of the state that had a later end to the growing season due to favorable moisture in the previous weeks.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for October 24 – October 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the highest NDVI values centered along and east of the Appalachians, where rainfall has reduced drought stress. Another area of high NDVI values is visible in the Pacific Northwest, where a wet pattern has developed.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time October 24 – October 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory higher NDVI values across much of the country. 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 the Dakotas and western Montana.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 28-year average for the period of October 24 – October 30, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows a slight improvement in the drought conditions in the northern Plains. Lower-than-average NDVI values in Idaho, western Montana, and into the Cascades are the result of recent snow and rain in the region.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist