Comparative Vegetation Condition Report: March 25 – April 7

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:

 

 

Figure 1. The Vegetation Condition Report for Kansas for March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that plant activity continues to be lowest in the Northwestern Division, where temperatures continue on the cool side. Greatest activity is in the South Central Division, where temperatures were warmer, although still below average for the period.

 

Figure 2. Compared to the previous year at this time for Kansas, the current Vegetation Condition Report for March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows a very similar level of biomass activity. The biggest increase in activity is in parts of the Southwest and South Central Divisions, where temperatures are slightly warmer than last year.

Figure 3. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for Kansas, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the biggest area of below-average activity is in the North Central and Central Divisions. Cooler-than-normal temperatures, lack of moisture in March, and some winterkill of wheat have combined to reduce vegetative activity in the region.

Figure 4. The Vegetation Condition Report for the Corn Belt for March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that vegetative production is beginning to develop in the southern portions of the region. Continued snow cover and cold temperatures have delayed photosynthetic activity in the Great Lakes portion of the Corn Belt.

Figure 5. The comparison to last year in the Corn Belt for the period March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows the biggest increase in biomass activity is in North Dakota and parts of Central Wisconsin. In contrast to last year, these areas have a relatively lower snow pack.

 

Figure 6. Compared to the 25-year average at this time for the Corn Belt, this year’s Vegetation Condition Report for March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the northern Great Lakes region has the biggest delay in photosynthetic activity. Lingering winter conditions have delayed greenup in these areas. In parts of central Kansas, the lack of spring moisture combined with winterkill  has had a negative impact on wheat that is emerging from dormancy. 

 

 

Figure 7. The Vegetation Condition Report for the U.S. for March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the area of greatest photosynthetic activity is along the Pacific Northwest into central California and along the Gulf Coast from east Texas to Florida. In the Pacific Northwest, this activity, particularly in the mountains of California, are a concern as it signals very low snow pack and is likely to result in increased drought stress as we move into the summer.

 

Figure 8. The U.S. comparison to last year at this time for the period March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the greatest departure runs from the Northern Plains to Montana and Idaho. In the eastern part of this region, particularly in North Dakota, the lower snow cover has allowed for increased vegetative activity. 

Figure 9. The U.S. comparison to the 25-year average for the period March 25 – April 7 from K-State’s Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory shows that the slowly retreating snow line has delayed plant activity in the Great Lakes region and, to a lesser degree, in parts of Montana and Idaho. From central Kansas to Texas and into parts of California drought conditions have reduced biomass production.

 

Mary Knapp, Agronomy, 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