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Sensing System for Real-Time Measurement of Seed Spacing, Depth, and Geo-Location of Corn: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 62(6): 1779-1788. (doi: 10.13031/trans.13593) @2019
Authors:   Sylvester Badua, Ajay Sharda, Daniel Flippo
Keywords:   High-speed camera, Image mosaic, Light section sensor, Proof of concept, Seeding depth, Seed spacing.

Abstract.

Proper seed placement during planting is critical for achieving uniform emergence, which optimizes the crop for maximum yield potential. While uniform plant spacing and seeding depth are often used by corn growers to determine the performance of precision planters, these parameters can be influenced by factors other than machinery, such as seed germination, insects, diseases, and soil properties (e.g., temperature and moisture). Currently, the ideal way to determine planter performance is to manually measure plant spacing and seeding depth. However, this process is both cost- and labor-intensive and prone to human errors. Therefore, this study aimed to develop and test a proof-of-concept sensing and measurement (SAM) system to measure seed spacing and seeding depth and provide the geo-location of each planted seed. The system consisted of a high-speed camera, light section sensor, potentiometer, and survey-grade real-time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) unit. Results demonstrated the potential of the proof-of-concept SAM system for measuring seed spacing, seeding depth, and geo-location of corn seeds. Results showed that seed spacing can be calculated using the generated stitched images, achieving a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 0.63 cm and a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.87 when compared to actual seed spacing measurements. Likewise, 98% of the recorded seeding depths were within the acceptable tolerance of ±10% error. Finally, GPS coordinates were recorded for individual images, which can be used to locate individual seeds and provide detailed information on missing plants (no seeds).

Highlights

Calculated seed spacing showed an RMSE of 0.63 cm and an R2 of 0.87.

98% of the recorded seeding depth was within the acceptable error of ±10%.

GPS coordinates were recorded for individual images.

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