After a harsh winter that threatened to stunt China’s winter wheat, June brought a welcome reprieve. Warm, sunny weather nurtured the developing plants, allowing them to mature quickly. As a result, northern and central China expected a bumper crop of winter wheat in 2010, reported the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.
It wasn’t just winter wheat that flourished in the benevolent weather: this image shows expansive plant growth in much of northern and eastern China. The image is a vegetation index anomaly image, made from data collected by France’s SPOT vegetation satellite. The vegetation index is a measure of how much photosynthesis is happening.
The anomaly compares the vegetation index in June 2010 to the average of measurements made each June from 1999 through 2009. Areas in which plants grew more than average are green. Average growth is colored in cream, while less-than-average growth is brown. Green is the dominant color in the image, pointing to thick, rapidly growing plants.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided by the United State Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service and processed by Jennifer Small and Assaf Anyamba, NASA GIMMS Group at Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
Sandene, P. (2010, July). China: Bumper wheat crop expected. (pdf) Published in World Agricultural Production, United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. Accessed July 21, 2010.
A mild drought set in over the Yellow River Basin and parts of the North China Plain during the first five months of 2006. Dry weather and warmer-than-average temperatures in February, March, and much of April left soil dry.
Under the one-two punch of a dry fall and a frigid winter, winter crops in Ukraine were in poor condition in April and May 2006. This vegetation anomaly (difference from normal) image was created from data collected by MODIS. Widespread brown indicates that plants throughout the region had grown less compared to the average growth for 2000-2005. The Foreign Agricultural Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimated that only 10 metric tons of winter wheat, the primary crop growing here, would be harvested in July and August. That figure was down about 46 percent from the 18.7 metric tons harvested in 2005.
Normally rainy months in China’s south, February and March 2007 saw almost no rain. In some places, the warm weather allowed winter crops like winter wheat to thrive, growing more thickly than normal. In others, the warm weather and lack of rain withered plants.