UB Students Optimize the Use of Fertilizer for Rice Plant

Indonesia is an agrarian country where most of the people work in agriculture, plantation, forestry, and fisheries. Its natural conditions, fertile soil, are one of the factors that encourage most Indonesian to work in this field.

Fertile soil can increase the productivity of cultivated plants. Unfortunately, farmers in Indonesia are still not able to realize sustainable agriculture in terms of fertilization.

According to the Bogor Soil Research Center, the organic matter content of agricultural soil in Indonesia is currently very low, less than 2%, this indicates that there has been a decrease in soil organic matter content.

This is caused by several factors, one of which is the use of inorganic fertilizers which are very intensive and exceeds the dosage.
The intensive application of inorganic fertilizers can increase crop productivity within 5-10 years. However, in the long term, it can cause environmental damage and land degradation.

Intensive use of inorganic fertilizers with inappropriate doses is often found in rice cultivation. Rice farmers must know the condition of soil fertility, the right dose of fertilizer, to the selection of nutrient content in fertilizers to increase rice productivity and minimize environmental damage.

One of the solutions offered to make it easier for farmers to determine soil fertility and the right dose of fertilization is the MERAPAH.

MERAPAH is a nutrient detection tool created by five Universitas Brawijaya students; Dewi Sukma (FT), Nadia Kusuma Putri (FT), Dimas Rafliananta (FP), Suntari Nur Cahyani (FP), and Hayatin Sapitri (FP) guided by the Faculty of Engineering UB lecturer, Rahmadwati, ST, MT, Ph.D.

MERAPAH consists of an automation system to determine soil pH and an information system on the state of a plant-based on the fulfillment of nutrients needed by rice plants.

Monitoring of pH levels is done using a pH sensor. Monitoring of nutrient requirements in plants is carried out using the esp 32 camera sensor.

The camera sensor will take pictures of the rice plant and the image reading will use image processing to detect the color intensity of the rice plant.

The pH sensor and the camera will send the received input to the Arduino Nano. Then the pH value and the results of image processing will be matched and analyzed based on the data that has been prepared previously to determine the condition of the plant and the nutrient requirements of the rice plant.

The final data containing fertilizer recommendations will be sent by Arduino nano to the application on the smartphone.

“Hopefully this innovation can facilitate farmers to provide fertilizer for their rice plants so that rice crop productivity increases and of course has a positive impact on improving the economy,” said Dewi Sukma on behalf of the team. (humasft)