usefulness to fresh shippers in optical sizing and grading functions. Machines that fill consumer-size bags now depend on electronic brains to get the weight of the contents exact without underweights and a minimum of overweights.
Other mechanical aids have also become available to the Idaho potato industry. Processors now steam peel potatoes as opposed to the caustic process which was universal 20 years ago.
Large vacuum equipment is being used to suck out the potatoes in a "hot spot" that may have developed in a storage building, thus leaving the healthy tubers undisturbed and removing those that could spread the rotting process to the entire pile.
Planters and harvesters have been improved to do their jobs better with special emphasis on bruise prevention in the harvesting process. Operating a potato harvester is a job that requires a well-trained person, however, and the problem of bruising potatoes, although somewhat improved, is far from solved.
The new technology adopted by the Idaho® potato industry has required huge investments by growers, shippers, and processors. Labor savings have resulted, but the most significant benefits have accrued to consumers in higher quality and uniformity of potatoes bought in supermarkets and eaten in foodservice outlets.