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K-State Agronomy eUpdates

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: September 27 - October 3

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 September 27 – October 3, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows a continued decrease in the areas with highest NDVI values. Moderate NDVI values continue in the eastern portions of the state, with some lower levels in the river valleys. High streamflow levels have impacted vegetation in those areas. Vegetation continues to move into dormancy in the western areas of the state.

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for September 27 – October 3, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the largest area of increased vegetative production is in north central Kansas. This area has been favored with adequate moisture, not the excessive precipitation that has occurred to the east and the lower amounts to the southwest. The pockets of decreased photosynthetic activity are most visible in the Southwest Division where dry surface conditions have created problems for winter wheat.

Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for September 27 – October 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average vegetative activity concentrated in the western half of the state, with above-average NDVI values to the east. This matches the rainfall distribution for September, where the wetter-than-normal conditions were most widespread in the east.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for September 27 – October 3, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the highest NDVI values are in New England, where mild temperatures have extended the growing season. Low NDVI values continue in Wisconsin where saturated soils remain a problem.

Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for September 27 – October 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows that lower NDVI values are prevalent in the upper Midwest, particularly in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Persistent rain and cloud cover continues to mask vegetative activity in these areas. In contrast, the Plains and the Southeast have higher NDVI due to more favorable temperatures and moisture this year.

Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period September 27 – October 3, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average photosynthetic activity in the Upper Midwest. Heavy rains and saturated soils have limited photosynthetic activity in the region, particularly as the growing season comes to a close.

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu

Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
ara4747@ksu.edu          

Nan An, Imaging Scientist
an_198317@hotmail.com