Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dr. Vernon Burrows honoured by Chinese

Oat breeder Dr. Vernon Burrows of Ottawa has been honoured with the unveiling of a bronze bust during the China-Canada Agricultural Science and Technology Forum in Baicheng, Jilin Province, China.

Burrows began voluntary consulting at the Baicheng Academy of Agricultural Science more than 14 years ago, helping to develop oat varieties suited to Northern China.

Burrows worked as a scientist for the federal agriculture department in Ottawa for more than 50 years.

I recall writing about his work with the opening sentence: "Mrs. Vernon Burrows doesn’t mind when her husband is late home from work. She knows he’s just out sowing his wild oats.”

To his credit, Dr. Burrows let that stand in an article about how he was crossing commercial oats with wild oats with the aim of developing “dormoats” that could be seeded in the fall and begin germinating as soon as the weather began to turn warm in the spring. That would be early enough to escape some later-season yield-reducing diseases.

Dr. Burrows' numerous professional awards include The Order of Canada (2001), The Friendship Award of China (2003), AAFC's Agcellence Award in the Innovation category (2000), and the Agricultural Institute of Canada's prestigious Grindley Medal (1975).

He registered 27 new oat varieties during his career including innovations such as “naked oats” that have no hulls.