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  4. »eUpdate 436 January 10th, 2014»Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: December 24 - January 6

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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

1712 Claflin Rd.

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506

785-532-6101

agronomy@ksu.edu

Extension Agronomy

Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: December 24 - January 6

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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRP3Y5NIggw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUdOK94efxc

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 25-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 Kevin Price at kpprice@ksu.edu 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, service climatologist:

 

 

Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the entire state was impacted by snow. Amounts and the liquid equivalent of the snowfall varied greatly. Areas of heaviest snow were in a diagonal from Clark County in Southwest Kansas to Atchison and Leavenworth counties in northeast Kansas.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that western Kansas has higher photosynthetic activity this year. Most of central and eastern Kansas are showing lower photosynthetic activity. For Western Kansas, much of the difference is due more to the earlier fall precipitation rather than the most recent amounts. In the northwest, for example, the average precipitation is 11 percent of normal for the period, compared to 119 percent last year. However, the September-to-present average is 103 percent of normal this year compared to just 55 percent of normal last year. 

Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that biggest departure is along a diagonal from Edwards County in south central Kansas through northeast Kansas in the Atchison, Doniphan county ranges.  This corresponds to the area of heaviest and most persistent snow cover during the period.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the entire region had snow during the period.  Amounts varied, with heaviest totals in the northern and eastern portions of the Corn Belt.

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that greatest increase in photosynthetic activity are in areas where snow cover has not persisted. There is a sharp line in Kentucky that is most likely due to cloud contamination.

 

Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that there is an area of below-average biomass production from central Kansas through eastern Iowa and northern Illinois. This corresponds to areas of persistent snow cover. Lamoni, Iowa ended the period with 8 inches of snow cover.

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow was a feature for most of the northern and eastern U.S. It is noteworthy that snow along the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest has been limited, increasing drought concerns in the area.

 

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that there is a very pronounced splice line in the eastern US, which is an artifact of cloud contamination. Areas of greater photosynthetic activity can be seen in the Pacific Northwest and the Central Plains. In the Pacific Northwest, this is due to limited snowfall. In the Intermountain West, average snow depth is 3 inches. Last year, the average snow depth was almost 8 inches. In the Central Plains, the major difference was more favorable fall moisture. 

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period December 24 – January 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that there is a very large area of greater-than-normal photosynthetic activity in the Pacific Northwest into central California. This is due to lower-than-average snowfall in the region. Since winter snowfall is a major source of moisture for the water year, this is increasing concerns for intensification of drought in the region.

 

Mary Knapp, Agronomy, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu          

Kevin Price, Agronomy and Geography, Remote Sensing, Natural Resources, GIS
kpprice@ksu.edu

Nan An, Graduate Research Assistant, Ecology & Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL)
nanan@ksu.edu