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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: February 18 - March 3

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 February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow continued to be a feature during the period. This is a little deceptive; the snow totals were mostly light and quickly melted. The greatest totals were in north central Kansas, where up to 10 inches was reported. In south central and southeast Kansas the totals were in the trace to an inch range.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows much greater biomass activity. The major difference is the amount of snow during the two periods. For February 18-March 3, 2013 snowfall totals in the Central and Northeastern Divisions were ranging from 15-29 inches, with 20 inches or more common. This year, the amounts are in the one-inch range, with the greatest amount just under 10 inches.

Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows conditions are very close to average. There are small areas of increased biomass production in Edwards, Kiowa, and Comanche counties, and also in northern areas of Ellis County.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow was a factor across the region. Persistence of the snow pack in the southern portions of the Corn Belt has been less of a factor than farther north. Soil temperatures at the 2-inch depth in Kansas and Missouri are beginning to move above the freezing mark.

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows much greater biomass activity from the Missouri River basin in South Dakota through Nebraska and across central Kansas and northern Missouri. In these regions, the persistence of the snow pack has been less this year. Last year, snow totals for the period in the Columbia, Missouri area were around 20 inches; this year the range is less than an inch. In contrast, northern areas of Indiana have much lower biomass activity and much greater snow depth. Snow depth in St. Joseph County, Indiana ranged from 8 to 12 inches on the 4th of March, 2014; on the 4th of March 2013, the range was from a trace to half an inch.

 

Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest decrease in vegetative activity is across the central section of the region. In this area, cold temperatures and snow have reduced biomass production. 

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow was a feature as far south as northern Texas. In the southern parts of the U.S., the  snow cover occurred at the beginning of this two-week composite period.

 

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the biggest contrast is in the center of the U.S.  This also corresponds to areas of greatest differences in snowfall between the two years. 

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period February 18 – March 3 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that vegetative activity continues to lag in the Northeast due to continued cold, snowy weather. In the West, there are areas of below-average productivity where continued drought remains a factor.

 

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