THE Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said it has developed a mobile application that will help farmers determine the right amounts of nitrogen fertilizer to use for rice.

The application, PhilRice Leaf Color Computing App (PhilRice LCC App), checks the nitrogen status of the rice plant and is based on an older tool, a leaf color chart.

“Designed for farmers, extension workers, researchers, and students, the mobile app generates nitrogen recommendations in just under a minute based on the digital images of intact rice leaves photographed directly from the field,” PhilRice said.

According to PhilRice senior researcher Ailon Oliver V. Capistrano, the users must photograph the topmost, fully expanded rice leaf on a smartphone using available light.

Mr. Capistrano said the nitrogen levels can be determined from photographs, guiding decisions on fertilizer use.

“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,” Mr. Capistrano said.

PhilRice Deputy Executive Director for Development Karen Eloisa T. Barroga said the app will keep farmers from using excessive nitrogen fertilizer during the wet season and also cut down on pest infestation.

PhilRice said in its Facebook page that 75% of the clients are farmers, while the rest are students, extension workers, and researchers.

“Many farmers are now online. They also have their children to assist them. I’m sure that the app will quickly find its way to them to guide them in the accurate application of nitrogen,” Ms. Barroga said.

PhilRice said its mobile app can be downloaded for free via the Google Play Store. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave