“Crop heat stress is a condition that greatly affects growth, survival and crop yields, and this is due to the intense heat coming from the sun that causes drought and the powerful light that affects the proper photosynthesis process of the crops,” explained Engr. Franch Maverick Lorilla, one of the developers of the device.
Lorilla along with Jan Rey Altivo, Rexon Lacaba, and Ket Villacensio from Davao City invented the Heat Stress Analyzer – a sensor connected to a mobile app that alerts farmers with heat stress presence and suggests measures to care for the crops.
“This device provides an accurate method to assess the condition of the crop rather than the ‘feel method’, which is the traditional way farmers still use today,” Lorilla said.
The device monitors the environment condition of the crop by measuring important parameters such as heat levels, light intensity, relative humidity, and soil moisture. It analyzes the data through the mobile app and warns farmers when their crops are being affected by too much heat stress. It also provides statistics, historical trends, and recommendations based on analytics to help users make smarter decisions.
The analyzer is also equipped with pre-installed irrigation systems on the field and other automation components such as sprinklers, exhaust fans, and growing lights to automatically control crop heat stress.
“As of now, we are still continuing the improvement of the analyzer’s technology with the funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). When the patent is granted, then we are ready for commercialization,” Lorilla revealed.
In 2015, Lorilla’s team established CloudFarm Innovations Inc. after winning a startup competition from a non-profit organization called IdeaSpace. Since then, the group has been testing their device in 6 farms including banana and cacao seedling farms in Davao and a lettuce farm in San Pablo, Laguna.
“The device has the potential to help analyze heat stress of rice. At the moment, we are also testing some ICT tools through our FutureRice farm here at PhilRice,” said Nehemia Caballong, PhilRice ICT specialist.
The Heat Stress Analyzer was presented by Lorilla during the 3rd Agrihackathon Symposium at PhilRice, November 15. The event aimed to equip future ICT practitioners with knowledge, experience, and motivation to develop ICT support for agriculture.