The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is developing an Android application from a four-stripped “ruler” called Leaf Color Chart (LCC), which is used in assessing nitrogen status of the rice plant.
The handy diagnostic tool, which identifies the nutrient deficiency through colors ranging from yellow green to dark green, helps farmers save one to two sacks of nitrogen in every hectare. Nitrogen is an essential rice plant nutrient for growth and improves grain yield and quality.
Now a mobile app in the pipeline, it will generate nitrogen recommendations from the digital images of rice leaves taken directly from the field.
Ailon Oliver Capistrano, PhilRice senior researcher, said that through a smartphone’s camera, nitrogen levels of rice plants can be measured from a digital photo of its leaves, which is strongly correlated with actual leaf nitrogen concentrations.
“Different camera-types are normally installed in smartphones with variations in terms of resolution. We found that all cameras will deliver an almost similar reading. This means that we can settle for the lowest or median camera resolution as it is also lower in cost,” Capistrano said.
The app measures the intensity of green color based on the captured leaf images and converts this into values correlated with the amount of nitrogen in the leaf.
“The app is more accurate than the LCC because the assessment of the leaf color will no longer be based on the perception of users, which varies from person to person,” Capistrano said.
The app will undergo field testing and its nitrogen recommendation will be evaluated this year.