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machine for planting seed at a controlled depth and in specified amounts. The earliest known version, invented in Mesopotamia by 2000 BC, consisted of a wooden plow equipped with a seed hopper and a tube that conveyed the seed to the furrow. By the 17th century, metering systems were in use to ensure accuracy of the rate of planting; most consisted of wheels bearing small spoons that dipped into the seed hopper and guided it to the furrows in standard amounts.