Harrow Research and Development Centre opens its doors to the public



By Ron Giofu


The doors to the Harrow Research and Development Centre (HRDC) were opened to the public recently with people coming by the hundreds to see what they do.

Dr. Della Johnston, director of the HRDC, said that they opened their doors as their way of celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.

Owen Wally flies a drone that is used as part of research at the Harrow Research and Development Centre.

“We had an open house last year and we had one again this year,” she said. “We’re highlighting the work we do here.”

Johnston said they were showing the kind of work they do to assist farmers and the type of challenges they are trying to help the agricultural industry overcome. The main focus is greenhouse agriculture, Johnston continued, and that includes dealing with diseases, pests and working with LED lighting to try and improve health benefits.

Plants grown in various LED lighting spectra are sent to Guelph for further study, she noted.

The Harrow Research and Development Centre also studies weed science.

“When farmers are planting a field, weeds are a big issue,” said Johnston.

The HRDC helps assist farmers in when to plant crops in order that they can better compete with the weeds.

Food grade soybeans are also studied as many of those soybeans are sent to the Asian market. She noted they look for the best traits for how to produce such products as soy milk and tofu.

Max, Lukas and Emilia Roeheler sit atop a tractor at the open house at the Harrow Research and Development Centre.

In all, the HRDC has 18 scientists on staff. Many of those scientists and other staff were on hand for the open house, which had 800 people go through by 1 p.m. with hundreds more expected. There were also videos highlighting the HRDC’s history as well as their work.

The Harrow Research and Development Centre is located at 2585 Essex County Road 20 in Harrow.

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