Farm Futures has partnered with the Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL) at Kansas State University to bring these maps to you. Each map is composed from satellite data taken over a two-week period. The EASAL maps show current vegetative health for the past two weeks and compare vegetative health with the previous two-week period, with the previous year and with the long-term average. Green reflects healthy vegetative development, while brown reflects a lack of healthy vegetative biomass production.
Continental U.S. Vegetation Condition
Satellite imagery shows summer vegetative growth occurring across most non-mountainous areas of the country, but the drought is really taking its toll in the Plains, with damage becoming more evident in the southern and eastern Midwest and across much of the South as well. Green shows areas of active photosynthetic activity, while brown shows areas of very little plant activity.
Late July/Early August 2012 Compared to 23-Year Average
The drought is very intense in the middle of the country, where heat and dryness have brought photosynthetic activity to a near stand-still, relative to the long-tern average for this time of year. Photosynthetic activity is a bit better than normal in scattered areas of the Southeast, the Northeast and the Great Lakes, but crop health is suffering relative to normal in most other areas of the country.
Late July/Early August 2012 Compared to Late July 2012
Crop health deteriorated over the past couple of weeks across scattered areas of the eastern Plains, as well as portions of the South. Increased photosynthetic activity suggests that recent showers improved crop health a bit in southern Wisconsin, much of Illinois, eastern Indiana and western Ohio. Much of the deterioration showing up in the southern Canadian Prairies is likely related to the early maturing of the wheat crop in that region during the period.
Late July/Early August 2012 Compared to Late July/Early August 2011
Satellite data suggests that crop conditions across much of the South are a mixture of better and worse conditions relative to the previous year, depending on whether a particular area received timely showers or not. Conditions in the Mid-Atlantic stand out in particular as having improved growing conditions over the previous year. However, much of the Midwest and the central and northern Plains are experiencing lower crop vegetative health than the previous year at this time in the growing season.
Early July 1989 - 2011
This graphic shows the long-term average vegetative health for this time of year.