Latest articles

Research, development and discussion

Researchers develop crop 
protection products, regulators 
limit use and consumers worry

Syngenta is a household name for farmers so I was quite excited at the opportunity to visit its Crop Protection plant in Stein, AG, Switzerland, this January with the Swiss Farm Writers Association. The Stein plant is the third largest globally and concentrates on research and development of fungicide and insecticide products. Less than three […] Read more

Grasshopper burgers are on the menu

Insect burgers will soon be on sale in Switzerland. But they may not be for everyone

In Sunday school we kids were taught that John the Baptist ate grasshoppers and honey. “How gross,” we thought. We didn’t know that John the Baptist was way ahead of his time. Folks find it repelling when I tell them of the piles of dried caterpillars and grasshoppers for sale at Zambian food markets. Well, […] Read more

New machinery in the mountains

Marianne Stamm visits Switzerland’s bi-annual ag machinery show, AGRAMA

The Swiss Farm machinery and technology show, AGRAMA, is over. My farming neighbours are back home dreaming about that shiny green 200 horsepower Fendt or John Deere tractor with all the newest gadgets. Some will turn the dream into reality. Although I’ve enjoyed operating farm machinery since I was a kid, I’ve never been one […] Read more

Two markets; two attitudes

Letters from Europe: European growers work in a different policy and market environment 
than Prairie farmers

Recently a Swiss workshop speaker, Ruedi Sutter, commented on the many changes to Swiss agriculture in the last 30 years. It caused me to contemplate the similarity and difference of changes compared to western Canadian farmers. What I see when I visit “home” (Alberta), confirms my research on the web. The January 2016 report from […] Read more

Letter from Europe

Farm Perspectives

Background: Marianne Stamm grew up on a pioneer farm in the Peace country of British Columbia. Marriage to her Swiss husband Robert sent her to a mixed family farm in Switzerland, then back to a grain farm in Westlock, Alberta. She has now moved back to Switzerland to be near the grandchildren. Looking at the […] Read more

Stop putting off that care home visit

Many feel uncomfortable visiting care homes but here’s some tips to keep in mind

Anna* was a farm woman in her late 70s when a major stroke put her in a wheelchair and robbed her of her vocal and written language. Before the stroke Anna was active in her church and community and enjoyed spending time with friends. Her friends don’t come by so often anymore. Anna misses them. […] Read more

Keep a watchful eye for pea leaf weevil

Be ready to scout your fields. This pest is headed north

There’s a new pest heading north in Alberta and it’s eersoving fast. Although a regular in southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan, the pea leaf weevil has now been sighted as far north as Athabasca, Alberta. “There’s been a real range expansion,” says Scott Meers, insect management specialist with Alberta Agriculture. “It’s a concerning issue for […] Read more

No GMOs for farmers in Switzerland

After moving from Alberta to Europe, Marianne Stamm finds a different consumer culture

She chops onions, carrots and potatoes, adds them to the sizzling oil in the frying pan. The oil isn’t from genetically modified (GM) canola, and never will be if Monika Wanner, a Swiss farmwoman, has her way. “We have good products in Switzerland,” she says. “We don’t need GMOs.” That growing GMOs is banned in […] Read more

monosem vacuum crop planter

Seeding canola with planters

Two Westlock, Alberta farmers had a good harvest and saved costs after 
seeding their canola with a corn planter last spring

In 2014, two Westlock, Alberta, farmers cut their canola seed costs by $40 per acre by seeding with corn planters. They saw no yield loss. Is this the new way to go? At a Westlock seminar last winter, agronomist Geoff Doell of GROWTH Agrinomics Inc. told farmers that seeding canola using a precision vacuum corn […] Read more

European wheat yields

Kurt and Hans Wanner farm in northern Switzerland along the German border. They consistently produce eight tonnes of wheat per hectare. The European average is six to eight tonnes per hectare, but some produce 10. The Canadian average for 2011 was 2.9 tonnes per hectare. Why do Europeans consistently out-produce the Canadians? Moisture and 
growing season In the 1960s, […] Read more