Farm Futures has partnered with the Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory 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. This latest series of maps is starting to show the wide-reaching impact of the Drought of 2012.
Satellite imagery shows summer vegetative growth occurring across much of the eastern half 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 as well. Vegetative activity is best in the Mid-Atlantic and in the northern Great Lakes and Northeast.
Crop health is poorer than average in southern Wisconsin, and areas of the southern and eastern Midwest, with the drought significantly taking its toll in the Plains in late June and early July. I expect that next week’s images will show significantly more drought damage relative to normal growth and development.
Photosynthetic activity declined from the previous two weeks across areas of the central and southern Plains and the eastern two-thirds of the Midwest corn/soybean belt. An area of the northern Red River Valley saw improved conditions following recent rains.
Satellite imagery provides a dramatic look at crop health relative to the previous year. The imagery suggests that crop health is poorer than year ago levels across the majority of the Midwest and considerably poorer in the northern and western High Plains.
Vegetative health is actually better than year ago levels in areas that suffered from excessive moisture and flooding in 2011, including portions of the southern Mississippi River Valley, western Ohio and east-central Indiana and areas around the northern Red River Valley.
This graphic shows the long-term average vegetative health for this time of year.
You can keep up on the Drought and its progress across the country at the new website www.DatelineDrought.com.