Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: August 22 - August 28, 2017
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 for August 22 – August 28, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the greatest vegetative activity continues in eastern Kansas, particularly in extreme Northeastern KS. The impact from the recent rains continue to be visible, and the flooded areas of Wyandotte and Johnson counties show reduced photosynthetic activity. In central and south central Kansas the lower rainfall shows the continued stress on vegetation.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for August 22 – August 28, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows much of the state has higher vegetative activity. Rainfall was higher this year and was coupled with cooler temperatures.
Figure 3. Compared to the 28-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for August 22 – August 28, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory above-average activity in much of the state. The mild, wet weather has particularly favored the east central and southeastern divisions, while lingering drought has reduced the average vegetative activity in parts of central Kansas.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for August 22 – August 28, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows an area of high NDVI values centered in the Midwest, particularly in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. A second area of high vegetative activity is also visible along the West Coast, where the recent warm weather has yet to have a visible impact. Extremely low NDVI values continue to highlight the severe drought in eastern Montana and western South Dakota, while the excess rainfall along the Gulf Coast is beginning to show visible impacts.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for August 22 – August 28, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory again shows the impact that split in moisture has caused this year. Much lower NDVI values are visible in Montana and South Dakota, with slightly lower values in the Plains and into the Oklahoma Panhandle. In contrast, the desert Southwest has much higher NDVI values than last year at this time. Parts of Texas are showing the impacts of the excessive moisture from Hurricane Harvey.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 28-year average for the period of August 22 – August 28, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the drought impacts in the Northern Plains are visible as below-average NDVI values. In Colorado, parts of Idaho, and the Sierra Nevada of California, the below-average NDVI values are due to clouds associated with monsoon moisture. Wetter-than-normal conditions continue in parts of Arizona, with excessive moisture visible in Texas and Louisiana.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist