Automatic System for Measuring Seed Spacing, Depth and Geo-location of Corn

Automatic System for Measuring Seed Spacing, Depth and Geo-location of Corn

Location, such as seed spacing, geo-location and depth, is key when planting row crops. At present, it is not feasible to make on the go adjustments while planting. Any adjustments made based on seed depth and spacing will be for the next planting cycle. In order to determine the adjustments to be made, manual measurements of seeding depth and spacing need to be obtained. Seed depth is manually measured by digging individual plants, locating the seed, and then measuring the distance to the ground. Likewise, plant spacing is manually measured by laying measuring tape and recording the spacing. The current seed spacing and depth measurement processes require an excessive amount of manpower, hours of operation, and are still prone to measurement errors. Simply digging several plants is not a sufficient representation of a whole field variation of thousands of plants.

Researchers at Kansas State University have developed a new system for measuring real-time seed placement of corn during planting. The system uses a high-speed camera, light section sensor, potentiometer, and GPS unit. It is mounted on the planter row unit directly facing the furrow and allows for autonomous measurement and on the go adjustments. The system allows for collecting images and GPS coordinates simultaneously. A custom software provides real-time seed-to-seed spacing, seeding depth, and seed geo-location of each seed. This information is critically important for producers to learn system performance, operators to make real-time adjustments of the system, and manufacturers to use selective information as real-time feedback for planting control system for optimal performance.


  • >Real-time data available to make on the go adjustments in the field
  • >Reduce human error in taking measurement of seed spacing and depth
  • Process measurement from entire field rather than a select few, small areas
  • Cost effective and relatively easy to implement onto existing machinery


  • Equipment manufacturers: place on planting equipment for real-time adjustments
  • Seed companies: used to gather data and determine if and why seed did not grow
  • Robotic: use geo-locations as a road map for future robotic systems and operations

Additional Details

Owner: Kansas State University

IP Protection Status: Pending Patent