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  4. »eUpdate 485 December 5th, 2014»Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: November 18 - December 1

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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: November 18 - December 1

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 Nan An at nanan@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 November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that while much of the state had snow during the period, the West Central and Central divisions missed out. In the Northwest, the snow that fell was limited, and resulted in only a trace of precipitation.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the level of photosynthetic activity was about the same as last year at this time. Norton and Phillips show the largest areas of lower biomass production.

Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows most of the state has close to average photosynthetic activity. Below-average values are seen in Ottawa County, along the Solomon River basin. Slightly above-average values can be seen in the extreme Southwestern Division, particularly in Grant County.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow covered most of the region. The exception was from the Sand Hills of Nebraska through west central and central Kansas. The heaviest snows were in the eastern portion of the Corn Belt region.

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest departure ranges from southern Minnesota across Wisconsin and Michigan. There has been much heavier snow in these regions in comparison to last year. For example, Reed City in western Michigan, reported more than 15 inches of snow in November. Last year, Reed City reported just 4 inches for November.

 

Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that there is a wide area of lower-than-average NDVI values across the central portion of the Corn Belt. This is a result of higher snow cover. The biggest impact from this is likely to be delayed harvest or abandonment of late fall crops. In Michigan, almost a quarter of the corn still hadn’t been harvested at the end of November.

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow extended into the Texas Panhandle. However, snow pack in the California Mountains, while a bit higher than last year, is still low. Along the West Coast region, coverage is at almost 1 percent compared to a tenth of a percent last year.

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that lower NDVI values are most prevalent along the northern portion of the contiguous 48 states. Snow cover is the major factor in this across the eastern U.S., while persistent cloud cover reduced NDVI values along the northern California Coast during this two-week composite period. Unfortunately, for significant drought relief much higher snow totals in the mountains is imperative. In the Central Rockies, higher NDVI values are the result of lower snow totals this season. Snow coverage is reported at less than 50 percent of the area this year, while last year the area had coverage of more than 96 percent at this time.

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period November 18 – December 1 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that northern California and the Upper Midwest have the greatest level of below-average photosynthetic activity. For the upper Midwest heavy snow significantly reduced biomass activity. Along the California Coast, persistent cloud cover was the major fact. In the Pacific Northwest, above-average photosynthetic activity is visible. Snow cover remains lighter-than-average in the region.

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu          

Kevin Price, Professor Emeritus, Agronomy and Geography, Remote Sensing, GIS
kpprice@ksu.edu

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