Precision planting or seeding is an advanced method of producing crops on farms. Seed quantity is kept to a minimum and costs are kept down through the use of highly specified equipment that uses computers or mechanized components to spread seed in tight rows. Precision planting ensures optimal crop growth with a few considerations.
Precision seeding reduces the cost and quantity of seed used because the equipment only spreads what seed is needed to produce the desired crop. Crop uniformity is created because seed is evenly spaced. According to North Carolina University, crop yields are improved by 20 to 50 percent due to plants receiving adequate space to grow.
Seed bed preparation is required for the use of precision equipment. Specific equipment is required to prepare the seed bed to the depth and quality required by the crop being planted. The seed itself must be of a hardy quality since all seed used must grow for the best crop possible. Management of the crop is also increased since the need for pesticides is required throughout the season. Precision seeders are also costly.
Precision Seeder Types
Belt type seeders have circular holes that are punched into a rotating belt. The size of the holes are specific to the seed being used. Plate type seeders use a rotating plate. In the plate are notches that the seed drops into, and then the seed is dropped into the soil. Vacuum type seeders use holes in the seeding apparatus to remove excess seeds. In spoon type seeders, seed is scooped by small spoons in the machine. The seeds are carried to a chute that drops the seed. Pneumatic type seeders hold the seed in a drum. Once the proper air pressure is broken by a seed, the seed is dropped into a chute and then shot into the soil like a little rocket. The grooved cylinder type seeders use round or coated seed. Several seeds fall into a supply tube housed in a metal cylinder. The metal cylinder turns and drops the seed into the soil.
Buying Precision Equipment
Precision equipment is only necessary in larger crop areas. The soil requires a nutrient analysis to determine whether it is fertile enough for precision planting. Proper crop rotation practices reduce top soil loss, making it possible to use precision equipment.
Good irrigation is required in the field when using precision equipment to ensure that all seeds germinate. Weed management before planting is required to ensure a weed free soil. Precision equipment is best used within the recommended operating instructions. Operating at higher speeds may reduce crop uniformity.