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  4. »eUpdate 579 July 8th, 2016»Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: June 28 - July 4

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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

1712 Claflin Rd.

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506



Extension Agronomy

Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: June 28 - July 4

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 27-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. 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 June 28 – July 4, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory continues to show greatest NDVI values are confined to extreme northeast Kansas, along the Missouri River. The continued dry, warm weather has limited vegetative activity in the rest of the state. That is particularly noticeable in the Flint Hills, in Osage, Coffey, and Lyons counties.

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for June 28 – July 4, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows much lower photosynthetic activity across eastern Kansas, while the west is seeing higher NDVI values. The area of greatest increase in photosynthetic activity is confined to southwest Kansas. Rainfall has continued to be well distributed in the region and crop progress continues ahead of last year at this time.

Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 28 – July 4, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average vegetative activity is greatest in the east central part of the state. The rapid change to hot, dry conditions has accelerated plant develop and stressed newly planted row crops. Impact from this week’s rainfall won’t be visible for a while.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for June 28 – July 4, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows low NDVI values West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. Much warmer temperatures are driving the downturn in conditions as parts of the Midwest are reporting lower-than-average precipitation. In southeastern Missouri and northern Arkansas conditions are more favorable, although the Boot Heel region of Missouri missed the most recent rains.

Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for June 28 – July 4, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows that lower NDVI values are most evident in the Mountain West where drier-than-average conditions, coupled with extremely hot weather, have stressed vegetation compared to last year. In the East, heavy rains have limited NDVI values.

Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period June 28 – July 4, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows increased areas of below-average photosynthetic activity. The boundary in Texas of favorably moist conditions in the west to excessively wet conditions in the east has shrunk. Lower-than-average photosynthetic activity is also widespread across the Mid-Atlantic states. Widespread heavy rains were common in that area last week.


Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture

Nan An, Imaging Scientist