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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: February 28 – March 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, 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 February 28 - March 6, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows only light photosynthetic activity. The little production is mainly in central Kansas, although it continues to expand northward. This is not unexpected even with the warmer-than-normal temperatures. Low temperatures are still falling below freezing and average soil temperatures are approaching the 50-degree range.                               

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for February 28 - March 6, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows much lower NDVI values across southern Kansas. The winter wheat is less advanced this year than last, particularly in western Kansas, where dry fall conditions hampered establishment.

Figure 3. Compared to the 27-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 28 - March 6, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory much of the state has above-normal vegetative activity. The highest NDVI values are in the central and south central parts of the state, where precipitation has been more favorable.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S for February 28 - March 6, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows highest NDVI confined to the South, particularly in east Texas and Louisiana.  Snow coverage continues to retreat to the north, with a small pocket in Northeastern Colorado.  The Sierra Nevada of California continues with record snowpack, and snow returned to the Great Lakes and Upper New England regions.

Figure 5. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for February 28- March 6, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the impact that split in the snow cover has caused.  Much lower NDVI values prevail from the Pacific Northwest through the northern Plains, where snow coverage continues to be much higher this year.  In contrast, the region along the Great Lakes, has seen much lower snowfall.  This, coupled with warmer than average temperatures, has favored early vegetative growth.

Figure 6. The U.S. comparison to the 27-year average for the period of February 28- March 6, 2017 from K-State’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory shows the area of lowest photosynthetic activity is in the Intermountain West, where snow cover is greatest.   Higher NDVI values are visible in the Midwest from Iowa through Pennsylvania and northward.   Warmer than normal temperatures and little snow cover has favored early vegetative growth with increased risk of freeze damage.

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu

Ray Asebedo, Precision Agriculture
ara4747@ksu.edu          

Nan An, Imaging Scientist
an_198317@hotmail.com