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BAU researchers innovate ‘Nutrient Balance’ Mobile App

BAU researchers innovate ‘Nutrient Balance’ Mobile App

Md Aman Ullah, BAU

Researchers at the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) have developed a mobile application named "Nutrient Balance" to assist farmers in determining the optimal usage of fertilizers for five major crops potato, Boro rice, Ropa Aman rice, Ropa Aush rice, and maize. Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Sulphur are crucial nutrients for plant growth, and the app aids in addressing deficiencies or surplus by recommending appropriate amounts of inorganic fertilizers.

The app, available in both Bengali and English, requires users to select their district, upazila, and union. Farmers then input information such as rainfall, soil characteristics, and expected yield to calculate the total amount of fertilizer required. Additionally, the app prompts users to provide details on whether organic fertilizers are used and the residue of organic components in the soil. Subsequently, the app analyzes the data to determine the fertilizer balance, indicating whether excess or insufficient amounts have been applied.

Professor Dr Mohammad Mofizur Rahman Jahangir of the soil science department, the lead researcher of the project at BAU, highlighted the app's distinctive features, stating that it goes beyond fertilizer calculations. It also provides insights into how much fertilizer has been absorbed by the plants, how much has been lost in water bodies, and the contributions to air pollution in terms of ammonia gas and greenhouse gas emissions, specifically nitrous oxide.

The app underwent primary testing in three locations across Bangladesh Sherpur in Bogura, Chandina in Cumilla, and Muktagacha in Mymensingh yielding promising results. Ongoing developmental work aims to further enhance the app's capabilities, with plans to disseminate it among farmers across all districts in Bangladesh.

Under the project "Development of A Field Level Scale Nutrient Balance Calculator for Crops of an Intensively Managed Agricultural System" initiative research to develop the apps from October 2020. This three year project received support from the Bangladesh Science Academy (BSA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retired professor Dr M Jahiruddin of soil science worked as an assistant researcher in this project also.

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