Russet Norkotah LT
There is a long tradition of potato development by strain selection in Nebraska. For example, in the 1940’s researchers developed several strains (4, 12, 14, 22, and 25) of the Nebraska mainstay variety Blessed Triumph. In the 1970’s, Warren Trank and Gary Leever of the Potato Certification Association of Nebraska (PCAN) were instrumental in the development of Norgold Russet strains M and H, Red LaSoda strains 5 and 10, as well as New Superior and New Haig.
In the late 1990s, Gary Leever of the Potato Certification of Nebraska, began making strain selections to improve the yield of Russet Norkotah in a similar method employed by potato researchers in Colorado and Texas. One of these strains released was Russet Norkotah LT LT). The advantage of Russet Norkotah LT is its high yield potential. Russet Norkotah LT out-yielded both the Colorado and Texas strains in two and three years of yield trials in Minnesota and Nebraska respectively (Figure 1).
Russet Norkotah LT is similar in maturity to Colorado Strain 3, though with much smoother tubers (Figure 2). It has all the same disease responses as standard Russet Norkotah. Russet Norkotah LT has a strong vine and vigor, making it potentially more resistant to Alternaria, Verticillum, and Fusarium (Figure 3). It is nitrogen-sensitive, so fertilizer should be applied appropriately.
Currently, PCAN is working on additional strain selections of Russet Norkotah, including RN 23 and RN 26, as well as selections of Sierra Gold and Dark Red Norland.
Figure 1. 2004 harvest. From left to right: Russet Norkotah, Colorado 3, and Russet Norkotah LT respectively. Samples taken from one rep, 10 feet/row.
Figure 2. Russet Norkotah LT tubers.
Figure 3. Russet Norkotah with characteristic strong vines and vigor.