When it comes to finding quality potato seed, the supplier’s reputation is everything. And Kimm Seed Potatoes, located in Manhattan, MT, has one of the best. It’s widely recognized as a reliable producer of healthy, disease-free seed.
That reputation comes in part from how closely it works with the University of Montana’s seed certification program. The U.S. has a crazy quilt system of potato seed certification programs. Each operates on its own rules, which inevitably means some programs have a higher reputation than others.
Montana’s program ranks at or near the top in the U.S., according to various consultants and Extension agents.
The certification program helps, but Kimm Seed Potatoes also earns its stellar reputation through its culture and meticulous production methods.
Kimm Seed Potatoes grows first (G1), second (G2), and third (G3) generation potatoes and primarily sells G2 seed to other seed providers. To have healthy seed to sell, the Kimms begin with careful handling in growing G1 seeds.
G1 fields take up about 35 to 40 acres of the farm’s 1,400 acres. But they start with the nuclear plots. The Kimms hand cut seeds and place them in hand-planted lots.
Each nuclear plant has about 50 to 60 G1 plants. A team from Montana State University (MSU) comes in and begins sampling and testing.
“We’ll test 20 leaves [from each G1 group],” says Bill Kimm, Co-owner.
The farm places numbered flags in the field to track where each sample was taken. If any of the samples come back positive, the crew will not only remove the potato plant, but all 50 to 60 plants that came from the original.
“That’s very important,” Kimm says.
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