St. John's Research and Development Centre

  • Horticulture
  • Forages and Beef / Dairy, Pork, Poultry and Other Livestock
  • Agro-Ecosystem Resilience / Clean Technologies
  • Biodiversity and Bioresources


The St. John’s Research and Development Centre (St. John’s RDC) was established in 1935 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is one of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) network of 20 research and development centres.

The Centre is associated with one satellite location:

  • Avondale sub-station 67 km to the west where potato selections from AAFC’s Fredericton RDC are tested for resistance to potato wart, golden nematode and pale cyst nematode.

Areas of Research

The St. John’s RDC is a leader in the research, development and technology transfer of agricultural innovations that support sustainable and productive boreal-northern primary production, with a special emphasis on Newfoundland and Labrador. Agricultural practices in Newfoundland and Labrador differ from those in other agricultural areas of Canada due to the province’s cooler and shorter summers. Success has been achieved through the utilization of techniques that extend the growing season.

Research is focused on the sustainable production of horticultural (berries and vegetables) and forage crops, the development of sustainable cropping systems, biodiversity and genetic enhancement of berry crops, and innovative clean technologies and environmental practices for a boreal-northern environment.

Search Research projects from the St John's Research and Development Centre to learn more about what we do.

Sector Needs

The St John's RDC carries out innovative research, development, technology and knowledge transfer activities in support of the AAFC's Strategic Plan for Science, which includes:

The St. John’s RDC conducts research on berry and vegetable production (management, crop protection, pollination, propagation, germplasm conservation and genetic enhancement), and on the development of horticultural production systems, including protected cropping systems, for boreal-northern regions. Sustainable, integrated pest management strategies are also developed that are relevant to boreal-northern production systems. The value of beneficial organisms (e.g., arthropods, microbial biocontrols, and beneficial microbes) is also investigated in these systems.

Scientists are developing cropping technologies to create profitable livestock feed production systems for boreal-northern regions. Corn and forage research focuses on adaptation and management of high-yielding, high-quality crops, and varieties that are profitable and sustainable in a boreal-northern environment for livestock and other niche uses. Forage management research supports the expansion and development of the regional dairy industry.

Research focuses on the contribution of the microbiome to carbon and nitrogen cycling in boreal agricultural systems, with wood chip bioreactors utilized as a landscape mitigation strategy to reduce losses of greenhouse gases, nutrients and pesticides to the environment.

Wild berry germplasm collections are available for biodiversity studies and for use in genetic enhancement of northern-adapted berries. An extensive insect collection provides the basis for identification of native and invasive insects, and a reference collection of indigenous fungal plant pathogens is under construction. Together, these help elucidate the unique plant threats in the boreal-northern ecozones, as well as provide a reference point for future studies as climate change alters the range and severity of plant pathogens and insect pests.

    Meet our Scientists

    Find out more about the scientists at St. John's Research and Development Centre through their profiles below.

    You can also visit the Fields of Science campaign featuring 11 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists from coast to coast. Discover why they chose to pursue a career in agriculture and learn more about their research.

    308 Brookfield Road, BLDG 25
    St. John's, NL A1E 6J5
    (709) 793-3186

    Follow Us on Social Media!

    Scientists and researchers

    Image David B. McKenzie
    Research Scientist
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


    Image Julia Wheeler
    Research Scientist
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


    Image Samir C. Debnath
    Research Scientist
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


    Research Scientist
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


    Image Erica Oberndorfer
    Cultural Botanist
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


    Image Linda Jewell
    Research Scientist (Plant Pathology)
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada



    1. 13th International Vaccinium Symposium Halifax

      2024 - View publication details

    2. Sharifi et al. 2023. Accelerating the development of sustainable pest management practices to support Indigenous food systems in British Columbia. WFN Project report.

      2023 - View publication details

    3. Sharifi, M., C Moffat, D. Ensing, S. Debnath, J. MacDonald, J. Pollard-Flamand, K. Fong, L. Malunga, S. Joseph, V. Marshall, B. Rabie, T. Nelson, C. Harlton, and D. Martin. 2022. Revitalizing knowledge of scwicw’s growing conditions, propagation and preservation. Report to Neskonlith Indian Band.

      2022 - View publication details

    4. Sharifi et al. 2022. Revitalizing knowledge of scwicw’s growing conditions, propagation and preservation. NIB Project report.

      2022 - View publication details

    5. Sharifi et al. 2022. Scwicw (Avalanche Lily) Ecology, Propagation, Nutritional value and Preservation. Presentation to NIB Chief and Council.

      2022 - View publication details

    6. Parsons, C. and McCann, S. 2022 "New entomology projects at St. John's Research and Development Centre". Poster Presentation at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada, Entomological Society of America, and Entomological Society of British Columbia, Vancouver BC. Nov. 13-16, 2022.

      2022 - View publication details

    7. Chris Siow, Suvira Prashar, Oscar Molina, Katherine Ward, Julie Price and Samir Debnath (2023) Lingonberry: Red Treasures from the North - A Guide to growing Lingonberries.

      2022 - View publication details

    8. Debnath, S.C. (2022). Epigenetic variation and enhanced vegetative growth in micropropagated berry crops for wide adaptability and early berry production in northern environment 13th Canadian Association for Plant Biotechnology Conference 2022, August 21-24, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada. Abstract.

      2022 - View publication details

    9. De Koeyer, D., B. Bizimungu, M. Antoun, L. Jewell, E. Fava, and R. Morgan. 2022. The use of genetic resistance to control potato wart caused by Synchytrium endobioticum – a Canadian perspective. Canadian Society of Horticultural Science Annual Meeting, August 19-20, 2022 Halifax, NS

      2022 - View publication details

    10. Debnath, S.C. (2022). Somaclonal variation in micropropagated berry crops - an epigenetic approach. ISHS International Horticultural Congress, Angers, France. August 14-20, 2022. Abstract, Oral Presentation.

      2022 - View publication details