Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: June 27 â€“ July 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, 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 June 27 – July 3, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the greatest vegetative activity is in eastern Kansas, extending into extreme northeast Kansas. Dry weather has slowed vegetative activity in the west, but a pocket of increased activity is visible in the Arkansas River Valley west of Garden City. This is an area of intense alfalfa production.
Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for June 27 – July 3, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the greatest change in vegetative activity is in the Flint Hills area. Rainfall and temperatures have been favorable in the area, where western Kansas has been drier than this time last year.
Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for June 27 – July 3, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory much of the state has close to average vegetative activity. The wetter-than-normal weather has favored vegetative growth along the Smoky Hill River Valley in northwest Kansas.
Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S June 27 – July 3, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the area of highest NDVI values is centered in the Midwest, particularly in southern Missouri, central Kentucky, and central Tennessee. A second area of higher vegetative activity is visible along the West Coast, where the wet winter continues to benefit vegetative growth. Extremely low NDVI values highlight the severe drought in eastern Montana and western South Dakota.
Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for June 27 – July 3, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the impact that the split in moisture conditions has caused this year. Much lower NDVI values are visible in eastern Montana and the Dakotas, where drought is severe. In contrast, Wyoming, western Colorado, and Utah have much higher NDVI values than last year at this time.
Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period of June 27 – July 3, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows an area of below-average photosynthetic activity in upper New England, where continuing storm systems and cloud cover have masked vegetative activity. Drought impacts in the Northern Plains are visible as much lower NDVI values as well. In Colorado, parts of Idaho, and the Sierra Nevada of California, the below-average NDVI values are due to the lingering snowpack from an epic winter snow total.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
Nan An, Imaging Scientist