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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: March 10 - 23

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 26-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, assistant state climatologist:

 

Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that plant activity is most developed along the Arkansas River basin in Southwest Kansas and extreme southeast Kansas, particularly in Neosho, Labette, Crawford, and Cherokee counties.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows more photosynthetic activity in southwest Kansas and in parts of central and south central Kansas. This is particularly visible in McPherson and Sumner counties. Winter wheat is beginning to break dormancy and impacts from winter damage and drought conditions are likely to be more visible in the coming weeks. 

Figure 3. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest decrease from average is in the eastern parts of the state, where cooler weather has been more dominant. Increased vegetative activity is most visible in the Southwestern Division. In this area, temperatures have been warmer than average, but rainfall for the September-to-present period has been slightly above average.

 

 

 

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the occurrence of snow has moved to the northern portions of the region. In most cases, the amounts were light.

 

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that biggest increase in NDVI readings is across Minnesota, Michigan, and northern Wisconsin. This is deceptive, as drought conditions begin to intensify in these areas based on lack of winter moisture. Temperatures continue to trend cooler-than-average in these areas.

Figure 6. Compared to the 26-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the biggest departure is in the northern regions. Below-average snow is a major component for the higher NDVI readings.

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that snow is mostly confined to the New England region. While snow events did occur in the Northern Plains, these were limited in amounts. Early snow melt is reported in Montana and Wyoming, while continued low snow pack is an issue in the Pacific Northwest.

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that greatest increase in NDVI readings is in the Northern Plains into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The biggest decrease is visible in areas of the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Seaboard. For these areas, increased moisture has limited plant activity. 

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 26-year average for the period March 10 – 23 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows above-average NDVI readings from the Pacific Northwest through the northern Plains to the Great Lakes. An increase in photosynthetic activity at this time will increase water demands in areas that face intensification of drought conditions. The decreased vegetative activity in the lower Mississippi Delta region is reflective of flooding in the region.

 

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