Potato Harvest Underway Near Tappen - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Potato Harvest Underway Near Tappen


It's harvest unlike any other in the state.
Potato digging is underway.
Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin takes you near Tappen where spuds are making their way from the dirt to your plate.

These fields are buzzing.
(Mike Sitzmann / Potato Grower) "There's about 30 tandems and we are loading out of two different sights. We have about 70 semis running."
It takes quite a work force to keep up with all these harvesters....Trying to get this potato harvest off before a hard frost.
(Mike Sitzmann / Potato Grower) "We run two complete digging lines and we will run 4 harvesters on each digging line and there  are about 15 independent tandem trucks in the background that you can see. We have ten of our own and the rest are independent from all over different parts of the country."
Mike Sitzmann has been growing potatoes in the Tappen area for nearly 20 years.
He says in the past 2 decades, mother nature has seemed to throw him a curve ball nearly every year.
(Mike Sitzmann / Potato Grower) "It's just another year with mother nature, you just don't know what she is going to throw at you. You couldn't buy a rain all summer and the second field we pulled into harvest, here comes a 5 inch rain, seems like every three days we will get another shot." 
Sitzman says this has been a costly year for growing.
A lack of rain all summer kept irrigation systems running steady.
(Mike Sitzmann / Potato Grower) "We ran our irrigators, a lot of them ran 90 straight days. The only time they were stopped is if they were broke down. And it gets very costly to run them that hard. It's always nice to get a little shot of rain from mother nature."
Where are all these truck loads of potatoes headed?
They're on their way to Grand Forks to be diced and sliced for your plate.
(Mike Sitzmann / Potato Grower) "These potatoes could be a Wendy's, Arby's, Hardee's, McDonalds. Typically a lot of them go to McDonalds. But you will have them at different family restaurants."
From late plantings to dry years and late harvests Sitzmann says he's up for the challenge.
(Mike Sitzmann / Potato Grower) "Just the challenge every year. It's really fun to see it. When you get a big crop, it's really rewarding. A lot of work goes into it. It takes a lot of great guys and we have that. My son is involved and that fun to see someone come up, the next generation, It's just a great place to live. North Dakota is good. Agriculture is awesome. 

Sitzmann  hopes to be done harvesting by the beginning of October.


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