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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: December 13 – 19

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 December 13 – December 19, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows almost no photosynthetic activity. The little production is mainly in south central Kansas. Cold temperatures have moved most vegetation into dormancy.

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for December 13 – December 19, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows only a slight increase in NDVI values across parts of the state. Lower values are most evident in the southern divisions. Expanding drought conditions and the slow establishment of winter wheat in the Southwest into the South Central Divisions is visible as reduced NDVI values there. The much lower NDVI values in southeast Kansas is due mainly to persistent cloud cover.

Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for December 13 – December 19, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows much of the state has slightly above average NDVI values. Cold weather has finally arrived and vegetative activity has slowed, as normal. The very low values in the southeastern part of the state are due to persistent cloud cover.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for December 13 – December 19, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the highest NDVI values are confined to the South, as the growing season has ended for much of the county. Snowfall intruded on much of the country, with snow as far south as parts of Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for December 13 – December 19, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows that higher NDVI values in the Southwest. Rainfall has been much more plentiful this year, and snowfall has been limited. Along the Gulf Coast, cloud cover has been more prevalent than last year. 

Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period December 13 – December 19, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows an area of below-average photosynthetic activity along the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Plains. NDVI values have dropped along the northern areas of the U.S. as snow cover has begun to develop. The much lower NDVI values from east Texas through the Ohio River Valley is mainly due to persistent cloud cover.

 

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu

Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
ara4747@ksu.edu          

Nan An, Imaging Scientist
an_198317@hotmail.com