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MU opens farms to eclipse viewers

MU opens farms to eclipse viewers

August 10th, 2017 in Local News

The South Farm Research Center, home to the MU Equine Teaching Facility, will have a live stream focused on its horses, monitoring their movements during the eclipse.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources' Bradford and South Farm Research Centers will open their doors to the public for the upcoming total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

Both centers will conduct various research and experiments. The main focus will be on seeing how plants and livestock respond to the eclipse conditions. The two research centers will open about 11 a.m. The public is welcome to watch the eclipse at either center.

"We're excited to open two of our centers to the public for the eclipse," said Tim Reinbott, assistant director of the Agricultural Research Centers. "This is a very unique opportunity and we're happy to have some projects going on during the day."

The total solar eclipse will enter the northwest corner of Missouri around 1:06 p.m. and exit the southwest corner around 1:21 p.m. There will be complete darkness at 1:12 p.m. in Mid-Missouri, and it will last about two minutes and 36 seconds.

The South Farm Research Center, home to the MU Equine Teaching Facility, will have a live stream broadcast focused on its horses and monitoring their movements during the eclipse. There will be another stream focused on plants and crops. Mimosa, purple clover, corn and soybeans will all be studied.

South Farm is partnering with Bethany Stone, a professor of biological sciences, on the plant research.

"We're not sure how plants and animals will react," Reinbott said. "Will they think that it's nighttime and react as though it's time to shut down for the day? Or will they go about things as if nothing is changing? It should be an interesting experience."

The Equine Teaching Facility will be off limits for visitors — for the safety of the horses and to keep the horses comfortable with their normal surroundings.

The Bradford Research Center will show the live streams from South Farm at the John Poehlmann Educational Center.

Both research centers will also be paying attention to how fish react at the various ponds, as well as if the insects change their habits. There will also be several chickens monitored onsite at the South Farm Research Center to see how they react.

"Chickens go inside when it's cloudy outside, so I'm sure they will react when the eclipse comes through," Bradford Superintendent Andrew Biggs said.

The South Farm Research Center is at 3600 E. New Haven Road in Columbia. For more information about the South Farm Research Center, visit southfarm.cafnr.org or call 573-882-4450.

The Bradford Research Center is at 4968 Rangeline Road in Columbia. For more information about the Bradford Research Center, visit bradford.cafnr.org or call 573-884-7945.