South Dakota’s Unplanted Acres of 2019

September 16, 2019

Abnormally high spring rainfall and subsequent flooding in the Midwest in 2019 had a season-long impact on cropland production.

Growing vegetation is green and unplanted fields are in pink hues in these Landsat images from 2018 and 2019 of southeastern South Dakota.

By August 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 3.9 million “prevented planting” acres in South Dakota, more acres than any other state. Reporting acres as prevented planting is a signal to crop insurance providers that fields were too flooded to plant the crop by a certain date.

Besides the unplanted fields, the 2019 image also shows the James River still flowing out of its banks.

Landsat’s near-infrared and red bands can also calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of green healthy growing vegetation. In this case, NDVI clearly illustrates the difference in cropland caused by the wet conditions in 2019.

Sources: Landsat