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  4. »eUpdate 574 June 10th, 2016»Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: May 31 - June 6

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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

1712 Claflin Rd.

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506



Extension Agronomy

Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: May 31 - June 6

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. 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 May 31 – June 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory continues to show only a small area of low NDVI values in extreme southeast Kansas. The rainy pattern and cool temperatures during this period delayed vegetative activity in this area. Impact from the warmer temperatures at the end of the period will be more visible in next week’s map.

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for May 31 – June 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows vegetative production much lower in extreme southeast Kansas, but higher across the rest of the state. Part of the difference is due to extended cloud cover. Although May was wetter than average in most of the state, it didn’t reach the extremes that occurred in 2015. Crop progress in Kansas overall is almost double that of last year at this time.


Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for May 31 – June 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average vegetative activity is confined to the southeast areas of the state, where rain lingered. Part of that is due to persistent cloud cover in the region, affecting NDVI readings. Increased photosynthetic activity is most visible in the West Central Division. This area has recorded warmer-than-average temperatures coupled with favorable moisture, allowing for good growing conditions in the region. Excess moisture in the eastern half of the state has limited development somewhat.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for May 31 – June 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows low NDVI values across central Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Much warmer temperatures are driving the downturn in conditions as parts of Midwest are reporting lower-than-average precipitation. In southeastern Missouri and northern Arkansas, residual impacts from spring flooding are the major culprits in reducing photosynthetic activity.

Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the May 31- June 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows that lower NDVI values are most evident in the Eastern U.S. Drier-than-average conditions have delayed vegetation compared to last year. 




Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period May 31- June 6, 2016 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows below-average photosynthetic across the Southeast. Persistent cloud cover has reduced NDVI values in the area. Texas shows the boundary of favorably moist conditions in the west to excessively wet conditions in the east. That wetter-than-normal pattern is the driver behind low photosynthetic activity in the Louisiana, Arkansas, and southeastern Missouri areas, but drier-than-normal conditions are decreasing photosynthetic activity in central Iowa and into Illinois.


Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture

Nan An, Imaging Scientist