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.
Satellite imagery shows the most active vegetative growth is taking place in the heart of the Midwest as corn and soybean growth peaks, while the South has scattered areas of concern. However, crop dry down is becoming more evident spreading north and east from the Southern Plains drought.
Vegetative growth is much poorer than normal due to persistent drought in the Southern Plains. However, much of the rest of the country is a mottled mix of crop health that is better or worse than the long-term average, based on where scattered rains have fallen. In reality, much of the indication of better crop health is rather a reflection of the later maturity of this year's crops, leading to the green on satellite imagery relative to the 22-year average.
Crop health showed some deterioration in the Midwest over the past couple of weeks as warm dry conditions took the toll, speeding up the dry down of the corn crop. Scattered areas of the South saw light improvement in vegetative health due to moderating conditions.
Crop health is much worse than the previous year from central Kansas south to the Gulf Coast due to persistent drought. Satellite imagery also suggests that vegetative health is above year-ago levels in the Northern Plains and in the Southeast.
This graphic shows the long-term average vegetative health for this time of year.