The first seed drills were developed in China and Mesopotamia in the third millenium B.C. (van Bath 1960). The Mesopotamian drill required three workersone to drive the oxen, one to put grain in the hopper, the third to hold the drill steady. It was apparently possible to use this instrument profitably only in the fertile soil of Mesopotamia, where high yields could be achieved and labor was abundant.
The drill soon fell into oblivion. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, farmers in Europe tried to design better seed drills for small grains. Seed drills with mechanical dribbling devices were commonly used in the United States in the 1860s and 1870s. In continental Europe their use started slightly later, became widespread in the late nineteenth century, and was followed a decade later by maize drills and cotton seeders. The use of seed drills similar to the Mesopotamian drill has been growing rapidly in India since 1966.