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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: March 24 - April 6

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 26-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, assistant state climatologist:

 

Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow still hadn’t left the state during this two-week period.  Amounts were limited and quickly melted. From preliminary numbers, the highest amount reported was 3.6 inches on April 4th, at Colby. Unfortunately, the moisture was limited. That snow total translated to just 0.53 inches of precipitation.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the warmer conditions have led to a greater level of photosynthetic activity over most of the central and southern divisions. Extreme southeastern Kansas, where moisture has been more plentiful, has the broadest area of increased vegetative activity.

Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that southwest and south central have the greatest increase in plant development. Unfortunately, this is the area with the lowest temperatures during the April 3-4 freeze event. Damage from that freeze will take some time to be visible on the condition map. In north central Kansas the combination of cool temperatures, dry soils, and winterkill are visible in lower-than-average photosynthetic activity.

 

 

 

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow continues in the northern portions of the region. This snow was mostly light and limited in coverage. Snow cover does persist in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

 

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the area of greatest increase in photosynthetic activity is in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. This drops off quickly in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where snow cover is still prominent.

Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the sharp contrast between the snow-covered Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the clear areas of northern Wisconsin. Drought conditions continue to intensify in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the most concentrated snow cover remains in northern New England. Snow pack in the Pacific Northwest and northern California continues to shrink rapidly.

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the only area of lower photosynthetic activity is east of the Great Lakes from southern New York to the Atlantic. This area continues to show the impact of the extremely heavy snowfall during the earlier part of the year. 

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period March 24 – April 6 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows higher-than-average photosynthetic activity in the Pacific Northwest and much lower-than-normal activity in New England. The cool, wet conditions have delayed vegetative activity in the Northeast, while lack of snow continues to allow greater photosynthetic activity in the Northwest. Signs of the western drought conditions are more visible in the central valleys of California.

 

 

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