Lima Bean Crop Standards

(Phaseolus lunatus)

GENERAL STANDARDS -- The standards on this sheet are in part condensed and apply to lima bean. For greater detail and additional provisions, see the General Standards.

PLANTING STOCK -- In most varieties Breeder seed must be planted to produce Foundation seed, Foundation seed must be planted to produce Registered seed, and Registered seed must be planted to produce Certified seed. In varieties where there is no Registered class, Foundation seed must be planted to produce Certified seed.

APPLICATION -- Applications should be submitted electronically on CCIA’s website (Application to grow and certify seed) as soon as possible and no later than three (3) weeks after planting. New applicants should contact the CCIA office for instructions on obtaining access to the online application system.

FIELD ELIGIBILITY -- The land must not have grown the same species of beans as the previous crop unless the beans were of the same variety planted for certification and met the field inspection requirements for varietal purity.

ISOLATION -- Lima beans must be isolated thirty (30) feet from other lima varieties, except for the varieties shown in the table below. This space may be planted with seed of the same variety if the appropriate number of rows are not harvested as seed, under the supervision of the Agricultural Commissioner. All fields or portions of fields intended for certification must have a definite boundary such as a fence, ditch, roadway, levee, or barren strip at least ten (10) feet wide.

Additional certification requirements have been established for the varieties listed in the table below:

Variety Foundation Registered Certified
UC Haskell 2,640 feet 300 feet 30 feet
UC Beija-Flor 2,640 feet 300 feet 30 feet
Fordhook Lima 100 feet 100 feet 100 feet

FIELD INSPECTION -- Each field intended for certification must be inspected prior to harvest. At least one inspection shall be made preferably during the mid-bloom stage and, in some cases, earlier and later inspections may be made.

Off-Types -- Every field should be rogued to remove any plants of another crop or variety. Varieties cannot always be differentiated at field inspection. When differences can be distinguished, the maximum mixture of other varieties, distinct off-types, and inseparable other crops permitted is as follows:

Foundation - 1:10,000
Registered - 1:2,000
Certified - 1:1,000

Weeds -- Fields must be free of any prohibited noxious weeds. Restricted noxious weeds, and common weeds difficult to separate must be controlled. Prohibited and Restricted noxious weeds are listed in the California Seed Law/CA Code of Regulations/Sections 3854 and 3855. See California Seed Law - Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weed List.

Fields may be refused certification due to unsatisfactory appearance caused by weeds, poor growth, poor stand, disease, insect damage, and any other condition which prevents accurate inspection or creates doubt as to identity of the variety.

A field inspection report will be sent to the applicant. If the field is approved, a certification number will be assigned. This number must be on all containers of seed before they leave the field. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure his field has been inspected before it is harvested.

HARVESTING -- Harvesting is subject to the supervision of the County Agricultural Commissioner who must be contacted prior to harvest. Any seed moved out of the county for conditioning must be accompanied by an Intercounty Permit or Interstate Transfer issued by the Commissioner.

CONDITIONING AND SAMPLING -- Conditioning of seed for certification may be done only in facilities approved for this purpose by the California Crop Improvement Association. It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine if the plant is eligible before delivering seed for conditioning. Conditioning, sampling, reconditioning, and blending must be supervised by the County Agricultural Commissioner. Conditioning equipment must be free from contaminating seed to the satisfaction of the supervising inspector.

SEED INSPECTION -- All seed must be sampled and tested after conditioning and the seed lot must meet or exceed seed certification standards for that crop. A seed lab using the Association of Official Seed Analyst “Rules for Testing” must test the sample. A Registered Seed Technologist must sign each lab analysis. In addition to AOSA rules, specific seed testing may be required to meet CCIA seed certification standards.

The conditioner is required to submit the following sample sizes of seed to the laboratory for analysis: certified lima bean seed 1,350 grams and for Concentrated Fordhook lima bean seed 2,250 grams. (Submitted Sample Sizes for Certification). In some instances varietal identity cannot be determined by visual seed inspections. Seed must be well screened and graded, bright in color, of good appearance, and meet the following standards for certified lima bean seed:

  Pure Seed

    99.00% (Minimum)

  Inert Matter

    1.00% (Maximum)

  Foreign Material

    0.50% (Maximum)

  Splits and Cracks

    1.00% (Maximum)

  Badly Discolored

    0.50% (Maximum)

  Chewing Insect Damage

    0.50% (Maximum)

  Other Crop Seed


- Foundation


- Registered

    0.05% (Maximum)

- Certified

    0.10% (Maximum)

  Other Varieties*


- Foundation


- Registered, Certified

    1 seed per 2 pounds (Maximum)

- Except in Concentrated Fordhook Lima

   1 seed per 5 pounds (Maximum)

  Weed Seed


  Noxious Weed Seed


  Germination and Hard Seed


- Concentrated Fordhook & Large Limas

    80.00% (Minimum)

- All other types

   85.00% (Minimum)

The total of all impurities shall not exceed 2%. Weed seeds found in purity need to be listed on lab analysis.

*In some instances varietal identity cannot be determined by visual seed inspection. The total of all impurities shall not exceed 2%.

The CCIA requires Reports of Analysis for initial certification to be dated no more than a maximum of six (6) months prior to the request for seed certification. The ‘Purity Analysis’ and ‘Germination’ must be conducted on the same laboratory seed sample and those results must be presented in a single Report of Analysis.

FINAL CERTIFICATION AND TAGGING -- If the seed sample meets all standards a seed inspection report is issued. Before certification is complete, however, each container must have an official tag or label attached. Certified seed may be sold to a grower in bulk without tagging if a properly filled out Bulk Sale Certificate accompanies the shipment. The tags and Bulk Sale Certificates are issued by the California Crop Improvement Association.

Updated November 2019