MANHATTAN — Development of a precision planting system, offering producers the ability to plant large areas of acreage rapidly while maximizing yield per acre, will be the goal of a research team at Kansas State University.

Deere & Company has invested more than $300,000 in the project, “Precision Planting System with Hydraulic Downforce Technology for Seed Placement Uniformity,” headed by Ajay Sharda, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering in the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, and co-investigator Ignacio Ciampitti, associate professor of agronomy.

The project will focus on evaluation of a planting system control response to manage real-time seed spacing and depth uniformity during diverse field and operating conditions. The system’s ability to rapidly and accurately control seed metering and liquid nutrient rate on each row unit, during planting of both straight and curvilinear paths, can greatly benefit seed spacing, plant growth and population uniformity.

Similarly, the individual-row, hydraulic downforce control system can optimally control and implement planter operation for accurate seed trench development and seeding depth.

“Successful completion of this project will deliver the metrics of a planting system’s ability to manage seeding, nutrients and depth control on a row-by-row basis,” Sharda said, “allowing producers to adopt intelligent practices for more productivity and profitability in their crop production.”

“Improving understanding of the factors impacting early-season, plant-to-plant uniformity for both corn and soybean crops will advance integration of the right set of variable-rate technologies with best management practices,” Ciampitti said.

“Industry-institution collaborations such as this one with Deere & Company involving state-of-the-art machine systems provide opportunities to conduct on-farm research by working with producers in the area of system development options to further engage in research with industry,” Sharda said.

Graduate students involved in the project will work with new equipment provided by Deere & Company. Such engagements and opportunities will directly serve both the Kansas State University and Carl R. Ice College of Engineering 2025 goals to further research and train students for the best opportunities in their professional endeavors.