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Effective weed control before seeding is essential for proper turfgrass establishment because competition from weeds can cause sward establishment to fail ( Dunn and Diesburg 2004 ; Patton et al. 2009 ). Herbicides are a vital component to weed

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Selecting the proper seeder setup to meter a given seed lot effectively can be very difficult for a vegetable grower, especially if the seed lot is not graded for size uniformity. A belt-type seeder should effectively singulate the seeds if the seeds are spherical and uniform because the holes are specifically sized. Seeds that are not graded for size uniformity may not be singulated effectively by a belt-type seeder. A vacuum-type seeder should uniformly meter a wider range of seed sizes better than a belt-type seeder since the holes in the seed plate must only be smaller than the smallest seeds in the lot. Seed lots (graded and ungraded) of two turnip (Brassica rapa L. rapifera group) cultivars were metered with a belt seeder using belts with holes 6/64 inch (2.4 mm) or 7/64 inch (2.8 mm) in diameter or with a vacuum seeder. Neither the belt nor vacuum seeder satisfactorily singulated any of the seed lots. With the larger (7/64 inch) belt holes, there were excessive incidences of multiple seeds per drop. With the smaller (6/64 inch) belt holes, multiple drops and missed seed were excessive. The vacuum seeder also resulted in excessive misses and multiples.

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Stanhay, Carraro, and Gaspardo precision vegetable seeders were evaluated for seeding uniformity with seeds of five vegetable crops—cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group), carrot (Daucus carota L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), onion (Allium cepa L. Cepa group), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). Five measurements [mean, percentage of misses, percentage of multiples, quality of feed, and precision (defined as the coefficient of variation after misses and multiples were discarded)] were used to evaluate seeder uniformity. Using all five measurements provided a more complete determination of the metering uniformity of the seeders than was possible in prior work when only mean and coefficient of variation were used. The belt seeder (Stanhay) was effective at singulating spherical seeds (cabbage) and nearly spherical seeds (onion)as the most precise vacuum seeder (Carraro). Seeding uniformity of all seeders with elongated (carrot and cucumber) or angular (spinach) seeds was inadequate for precision seeding.

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Precision vegetable seeders were found to have unexpected variation in seed spacing uniformity. A belt seeder and vacuum seeder were evaluated using cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. capitata group) seeded at different seed spacings to determine if seeder uniformity improved with increasing seed spacing. Seeding uniformity of the belt seeder was not affected by seed spacing, but uniformity of the vacuum seeder was. Variation in seed spacing with the vacuum seeder was consistent in absolute units, thus seed spacing nonuniformity (expressed as a percentage of theoretical spacing) decreased with increasing seed spacing. Operating the vacuum seeder with the air pressure seed release mechanism disengaged improved seeder precision. Uniformity and precision of the belt seeder were better than that of the vacuum seeder.

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This article is a review of the current status in planting and transplanting equipment and practices for vegetable crops. A review of horticultural and agricultural engineering literature is supplemented by information from an informal survey of members of American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) committee PM-48, Fruit and Vegetable Production Engineering, and other engineers and horticulturists working in this field. Areas covered include precision seed metering, seed placement, and high-speed transplanting with automated plant handling.

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An Earthway garden seeder (model 1001B) is frequently used for seeding small research and demonstration plots as well as home gardens. Seeding uniformity tests were conducted with 18 species of vegetable in this seeder using the planter plates recommended by Earthway, alternate plates, and plates modified by taping off metering ports to change the seeding rates and spacings. Performance with the Earthway seeder with most vegetable seeds would not qualify it as a precision seeder, but the Earthway seeder can do an acceptable job of planting many vegetable seeds in small plots at less than 1/10th the cost of a commercialquality precision seeder. A table giving specific recommendations for each of the 18 species has been prepared to aid research and extension personnel as well as home gardeners.

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The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of different forward speeds of hill dropping melon (Cucumis melo) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) seeds with reference to hill dropping uniformity. For this purpose, melon and watermelon seeds were hill dropped with three different seed plates at the forward speeds of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 m·s–1 (1.64, 3.28, 4.92, and 6.56 ft/s). A precision vacuum seeder unit was used in laboratory tests involving a grease belt test stand. Mean hill distance was not affected by forward speed and seed plates, but mean seed number in hill was affected. In terms of the coefficients of variation of hill distance and seed number in hill, the most suitable forward speed was 0.5 m·s–1. The scattering distance ratios of forward speed of 0.5 and 1.0 m·s–1 were about 20% to 30%, indicating an acceptable level for hill dropping of melon and watermelon.

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91 WORKSHOP 8 (Abstr. 1042-1045) Seed Vigor Testing and Utilization

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133 POSTER SESSION 20 Seed Establishment/Cross-Commodity

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Oral Session 34—Seed and Stand Establishment Moderator: Gene M. Miyao 21 July 2005, 2:00–3:00 p.m. Room 105

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