Published online: Sep 15, 2012 Potato Harvesting, Potato Equipment
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Throughout the day, farmers passing on state Highway 39 near Aberdeen, Idaho, pulled over to watch Dakota Albertson harvest potatoes in the Driscoll Brothers' new machine.

The Driscolls have purchased the nation's only self-propelled Tectron harvester, designed by the German company Grimme to better capture tiny specialty spuds without collecting too much dirt. It arrived in southeast Idaho on Aug. 27.

"It's a whole new machine to everybody," Albertson said. "Some stop and watch it on the side of the road. Some people want to get under it and see how it's doing what it's doing."

At 19 years old, Albertson is the only U.S. farm hand qualified to program and operate the Tectron. Though he'd never been at the helm of a harvester before, the Driscolls considered him to be the ideal candidate to run it.

"They didn't want (the driver to have) any preconceived concepts of a North American harvester," Albertson said.

SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press