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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: February 25 - March 10

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 Kevin Price at kpprice@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:

Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow was again a feature during the period. Unlike earlier events, the snow was basically confined to the March 3rd storm, and quickly melted.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows parts of central Kansas have much lower NDVI values, while portions of northeastern Kansas have much higher NDVI values. In central and southeastern Kansas, the lower vegetative activity is most likely due to drier conditions this year.

Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows an area of below-average vegetative activity in central Kansas. Much of this delayed development is due to cooler-than-average temperatures and earlier snow cover. The slight decrease in activity in southeastern Kansas may be a sign of the increasing drought stress in the region.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow continues to be a feature. In the western and southern areas of the Corn Belt, this snow cover was much lighter and very short lived. Highest snow depths continue to be in the northern parts of Illinois and Indiana. Glen Ellyn, IL, southwest of Chicago, still had 12 inches of snow on the ground at the end of the period.

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a large area of northern Missouri where vegetative activity is much greater. Last year, Columbia , Missouri had 6 inches of snow on the ground on the 7th of March. This year, there has only been a trace of snow in March.

 

Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the area of below-average vegetative activity is mostly in northwestern Iowa through to southern Wisconsin and northern Indiana. These are the areas with most persistent cold weather and snow cover. 

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow was reported as far south as Texas. This was from a brief winter weather event at the beginning of the period. Still, temperatures dipped to 30 degrees at Port Arthur Texas on the 3rd of March.

 

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the biggest increase in vegetative activity is in northern Missouri, while the biggest decrease is shared by eastern Pennsylvania and the Pacific Northwest. In the east, this decrease is due to persistent winter weather. In the west, the major culprit is the increasing drought. 

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period February 25 – March 10 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the area of below-average biomass production is retreating northward in the east and increasing in southern California and the mountains of Washington. Rapidly decreasing snowpack in the central Rockies is resulting in slightly above-average vegetative activity in the region. On February 10th, the average extent of coverage was 93 percent. On March 10th, the average extent of coverage was 57 percent.

 

Mary Knapp, Agronomy, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu          

Kevin Price, Agronomy and Geography, Remote Sensing, Natural Resources, GIS
kpprice@ksu.edu

Nan An, Graduate Research Assistant, Ecology & Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL)
nanan@ksu.edu