Mobile Greenhouse Simulates Drought

Mobile Greenhouse Simulates Drought

On May 16, the MU Drought Team planted the first round of corn for the summer. This is part of an on-going research project that aims to develop a drought-tolerant variety of corn. The corn was planted at Bradford Research Station off Rangeline Rd., and so far, the plants are growing well.

In Missouri, it can be difficult to control the weather conditions needed to simulate drought and simultaneously obtain good data. The MU Drought Team has access to a mobile greenhouse that allows the scientists to simulate a drought. The team moves the greenhouse over the plants when it is raining and moves it away from the plants when it is sunny. This massive contraption is at least 100 feet long and large enough to completely cover the field.

However, massive storms can cause rain buildup that may penetrate the greenhouse and thwart the drought simulation. To compensate for this, the team installed diverters around the greenhouse to prevent rain buildup. These diverters resemble sheet metal and are angled downward to guide water away from the plants. In essence, they act like gutters.

The mobile greenhouse and diverters will help simulate drought conditions and keep the corn in the proper conditions until it’s time to harvest.

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