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The 2013 Growing Season Has Begun!

In collaboration with commercial partners TerraMetrics Agriculture, Inc. (TMAI) of Lawrence, KS and Planalytics of Berwyn, PA, the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program recently released the GreenReport® and Crop Yield Forecast schedule for 2013. The GreenReport® will be launched on March 21, and crop yield forecasting will begin one week later.

Winter wheat in corn stalks. Picture by Dietrich Kastens.

The 2012 growing season provided a roller coaster for agriculture. An early spring led to record early plantings for corn and soybeans. Crop potential was high. However, by mid-year, drought conditions were tightening their grip across the central Great Plains and Midwest, taking a terrible toll on all crops. A record hot & dry summer did the rest of the damage. Corn yields fell to trend-adjusted levels not seen since the great drought of 1988. Soybeans were headed the same way, but were able to gain back some ground late in the growing season when weather patterns improved (the fate of the corn crop had already been sealed by then). In contrast, the early growing season helped the winter wheat crop reach maturity before the drought had fully set in, resulting in an average crop.

So what’s in store for 2013? Despite recent moisture events, significant soil moisture deficits remain across much of the central U.S. and upper Midwest. Spring rains will be needed to ensure that crops get off to a good start. After that, summer moisture will be essential to avoiding a repeat of last year.

Of course, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding how the weather will unfold during the 2013 growing season and how it will impact vegetation across the U.S. Stay on top of things by following the GreenReport® and the satellite-based Crop Yield Forecasts throughout the year.

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