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  4. »eUpdate 487 December 22nd, 2014»Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: December 2 - 15

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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 2 - 15

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 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, service climatologist:

 

 

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Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that only the extreme northwestern portion of the state had snow during the period. The moisture content of the snow was minimal at a trace, or less than 0.01 inches. Other portions of the state had more moisture in the form of rain. Snow from this week’s event will be part of next week’s map.

 

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Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the biggest decrease in photosynthetic activity is centered near Norton and Phillips counties. The abrupt switch from wet conditions in October to dry in November had a negative impact on establishment of winter wheat, and the cold weather in mid-November moved much of the vegetation into dormancy earlier this year.

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Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that parts of Ottawa and Saline counties have above-average NDVI readings. Moisture in October and cool November weather delayed planting, and had a negative impact on stand development.

 

 

 

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Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that while most of the region had snow, the southwest portion missed out. Parts of Kansas did have moisture in the form of rain, particularly the southeastern area of the state.

 

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Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that a large band of lower photosynthetic activity is visible from southern North Dakota across Minnesota and Iowa into central Wisconsin. Heavier snow was present in these areas. The band of lower NDVI values across eastern Kentucky is largely an artifact of the splicing technique used to produce the images. Northern parts of North Dakota have missed out on the snow. Fargo is on track for the latest first inch of the season.

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Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that, while not as pronounced as last year, there is an area of below-average photosynthetic activity from North Dakota through southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin. Snow cover had the biggest impact in southern Minnesota and in Wisconsin. The low NDVI values in eastern Kentucky are due to splicing problems caused by persistent clouds.

 

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Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow cover did not penetrate very far south. Also the snow coverage along the West Coast is confined to higher elevations. The greatest area of photosynthetic activity is in the Pacific Northwest along the coast.

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Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that greatest decrease in photosynthetic activity is in northern California and upper New England. Much of this is related to persistent cloud cover in these areas, as winter storms continue to exit on the New England side, and develop on the West Coast. Higher NDVI values are visible along the Northern Plains and the Ohio River Valley as snow cover recedes.

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Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period December 2 – 15 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the more abundant rainfall has produced much-above-average NDVI values along the Pacific Northwest. Persistent clouds have reduced the NDVI values in northern California and upper New England. Lower-than-average snow pack in parts of Colorado continue to show as increased NDVI readings.

 

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