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David Sparks Ph.d Norkotah potatoes
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: May 03, 2018

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On the upper Snake River plain, the vegetable that made Idaho famous is getting planted. “time to get potatoes in the ground. The sun is out and the wind has stopped so we have the opportunity to put the potatoes in the ground.” Spud farmers Brian and Scott Searle are planting norkotah potatoes near Shelley. Parenthetically,The Russet Norkotah potato has been available out of Idaho for approximately 10 years. The Norkotah grows faster than the Burbank. But Searle says they have another advantage.“ Norkotahs will keep their shape a lot better, more marketable number ones.” The number ones Searle is referring to start out as a seed potato. “Goes through a certification process so there is no disease. Then we ship them in. We want them 10 ounce and under. Optimum seed pea size is an ounce and 1/2 to 3 ounces, so it goes through a cutter, slices them, there is some chemical dust put on them and you can see a sprout like the one that is starting right there and that sprout is able to grow and produce potatoes. That’s what’s going to go up into the planter.” If you see dirt and dust blowing across the land of eastern Idaho, it is probably one of the many spud planters working to plant around 310,000 acres of spuds. One third of the US potato supply is grown in the gem State. Near Hamer, Mickelson farms is also planting. This 250 acre field is just one of many that the Mickelson’s will plant. Their farm alone plans to plant around 10,000 acres.

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