Precision Planting Device

Tech ID: 27436 / UC Case 2000-174-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an ultra-precise seed planter that can better discriminate between plants and weeds and further automates field operations.

Full Description

Precision farming is an active area of technological development, with a number of devices having been invented in recent years for targeted, variable-rate dispensing of seeds, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides on a site-specific basis. These applications utilize the sub-meter accuracy Differential Global Positioning System in a real-time kinematics mode (RTK GPS) to achieve centimeter accuracy, making possible plant-specific agriculture. RTK GPS's potential for mapping seeds as they are plated (with the seed maps indicating plant positions) helps realize such plant-specific cultivation with substantial economic and environmental benefits. It has been demonstrated, for example, that the ability to return to a planted field and discriminate between crop plants and weeds merely on the basis of location permits targeted application of herbicides with 20% to 80% reduction in the quantity of chemicals applied.

University of California, Davis researchers have developed an ultra-precise seed planter by retrofitting a RTK GPS system and several other components onto a vacuum planter. Conducting field trials over the 1999 and 2000 growing seasons using a 4-row vacuum planter retrofitted according to their invention, the UCD researchers were able to achieve an accuracy of about 3 centimeters between mapped seed locations and actual plant locations (15 foot segments with ~ 20 to 80 plants). This is sufficiently precise to enable targeted application of pesticides to crop plants, better discrimination between planted crops and weeds in the application of herbicides, and greater automation of field operations such as mechanical cultivation and weeding.


  • Precision farming
  • Targeted application of pesticides
  • Mechanical cultivation and weeding


  • Plant-specific cultivation
  • Better discrimination between planted crops and weeds
  • Greater automation of field operations

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,941,225 09/06/2005 2000-174
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,553,312 04/22/2003 2002-040
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,516,271 02/04/2003 2000-174


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  • Ehsani, Reza J.
  • Mattson, Mark L.
  • Upadhyaya, Shrinivasa K.

Other Information


seed planter, ultra-precise seed planter, agricultural equipment

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