St. John’s Research and Development Centre

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

The St. John's Research and Development Centre is one of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) national network of 20 research centres. The centre is located in St. John's, the provincial capital of Newfoundland and Labrador and is recognized as a center of excellence among the province's agricultural communities. In 1829 the land now occupied by the research centre became one of the first 500 acre agricultural grants made by the governor of the time as a means of stimulating large scale agricultural production in the colony.

Though the St. John's Research and Development Centre is the smallest of AAFC's research centres, it plays a vital role in the development of agriculture for the Region. Over the past seven decades staff at the centre have developed and introduced eight commercially-important potato cultivars, which remain important to production on the Island.

The centre undertakes research in two areas:

  • Primary production agriculture with a focus on berries suitable for production in the boreal ecosystem, and on forage, and cereal crops that support the regional dairy value chain
  • Environmental stewardship through the improved performance of the agricultural production systems in the fragile boreal environment

Areas of Research

The St. John's Research and Development Centre lies within, and has a research focus on, crops and cropping systems that are applicable to the boreal ecosystem (sometimes referred to as the Boreal Shield). Agricultural practices in this unique zone differ from those in the conventional agricultural areas of Canada because of the cool summer temperatures (an average of only 13° Celsius). The boreal zone includes a range of other agro-climatic zones, from the Maritime climate of Newfoundland and Labrador to the humid regions of the southern Prairies. However the high latitude, stony soils and cool summers of Newfoundland and Labrador place the St. John's Research and Development Centre in a unique position to lead research with a northern, boreal focus.

The Centre's areas of core research are aligned with national priorities to help the sector adapt and remain competitive in domestic and global markets. Greater participation in research networks and industry-led partnerships expands the Centre's innovation capacity.

The St. John's Research and Development Centre undertakes research in two domains:

Primary Production Agriculture (supporting the regional dairy value chain and horticultural activities)

The Centre plays a lead role in production research on livestock feed crops suited to Newfoundland's soil and climate, forage production in support of the dairy value chain, and production systems for berry crops adapted to culture in the northern, boreal ecozone.

Environmental stewardship (improved performance of the agricultural production system)

St. John's Research and Development Centre works to ensure agricultural production systems will remain environmentally sound. Science and Technology Branch has specific expertise in the area of soil and water, as well as crop fertility and production systems. St. John's Research and Development Centre uses this expertise in developing best management practices for farms and primary production systems in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Facts, Figures and Facilities

  • 61 hectares at the headquarters site and 14 hectares at the Avondale field research location
  • Climate-controlled growth chambers, greenhouses and crop drying facilities
  • Soil and analytical chemistry lab
  • Micropropagation lab and molecular biology lab
  • Entomology lab
  • Co-located at the Centre are:
    • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Regional Office
    • Provincial Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources - Agrifoods Branch and Department of Environment and Conservation - Wildlife Division
    • Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture
    • Newfoundland and Labrador Horticulture Producers Council
    • Chicken Farmers

Contact Us

308 Brookfield Road, Building 25
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
A1E 0B2
Telephone: 709-772-7474
Fax: 709-772-6064

Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office – Atlantic

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