Russet Norkotah management profiles

Characteristics | Management Profile | Strains | Tables


Seed and Planting

Due to its tendency to oversize, Russet Norkotah should be planted 9 to 11 inches apart within rows. Plant six inches deep due to a high set. Cut seed pieces are preferred over single drops in order for the plant to have more stem. Avoid physiologically ageing seed. Don't warm seed at 60 F for more than two weeks before planting. Don't hold pre-cut seed for more than a month. Don't plant in cold soil, less than 50 F, or stem cankers, Rhizoctonia, develop resulting in poor roots and poor nutrient uptake. Early planting does not increase yields but will allow early harvest with full yield potential. This makes Russet Norkotah a good summer crop. Also, this variety grows better in acidic soils over alkaline soils.

Toxic Seedpiece-Decay Syndrom

This is an unusual disorder that is observed in very few varieties. However, it is often seen in Russet Norkotah. A noticable wilting of the vine occurs just before tuberization about 3 weeks after emergence and is associated with the plant switching its nutrient flow from the seedpiece to the root system. The root system about this time has reached its maximum growth (12 inches root length) and the canopy is about midway (10 inches stem height) in its growth (Pavlista, 1995, UNL Cooperative Extension Circular 95-1249 "Potato Production Stages: Scheduling Key Practices"). Leaf margins in the upper canopy, the new leaves, dehydrate and turn brownish as if windburned. Brown streaks may be visible along the lower part of the stems. The seedpiece rots leaving a light-brown, jelly-like residue. The cause is not known but the syndrom occurs when early season weather conditions were wet and warm. Plants normally recover in two weeks from this. I have not found any data relating this to yield or quality loss in the crop and I have only seen this syndrom occur occasionally in the summer crop in south of the North Platte River.


Russet Norkotah requires 20-30% less nitrogen than recommended for Russet Burbank. Colorado recommendations are 200-230 lb N/acre, 120-200 lb P/acre and 0-40 lb K/acre. Apply most nitrogen before tuber set (first flowering). Early pre-plant nitrogen should be above 100 lb N/acre to get maximum rapid growth, 110-140 lb N/acre is usually recommended. The remaining 75-100 lb may be applied through the sprinkler in 10-25 lb increments. High early-season application of nitrogen does not delay tuberization, but mid-season application can slow tuber bulking which normally is rapid. Russet Norkotah grows well after alfalfa and clover.

In most Nebraska soils, adding potassium is usually not recommended.


Table 1. Fertility needs of the Colorado strains.



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Yields of Russet Norkotah strains