Nine Oklahoma State University (OSU) graduate students travelled to Ciudad Obregon to work on the refinement of a hand planter for farmers in developing countries with Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio, CIMMYT agronomist. During their stay, which lasted from 21 to 25 January 2013, the students also collected Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) data using the new GreenSeeker 2 sensor and a pocket sensor developed for developing-countries farmers.
Since 1991, over 100 graduate students from OSU have worked on short- (one week) or long-term (one year) CIMMYT projects in Mexico with Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio, Ken Sayre, and Matthew Reynolds. As a result, CIMMYT has been one of the key players in vetting and testing the GreenSeeker sensors. Furthermore, OSU and CIMMYT have developed a new hand planter for maize farmers in marginal landscapes of developing countries. These hand planters, which deliver one seed per strike, enable seed singulation (16-20 cm apart) that allows for more homogeneous plant stands, improved soil conservation, and increased grain yields when compared to the conventional system in which 2 to 3 seeds are planted 30-35 cm apart.