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Florida encountering a tough start with watermelons

Just under a month into Florida’s watermelon season, it’s been a tough go for the entire state almost. Produce from Guatemala and Honduras has finished, but supply is still coming in from Mexico. “It’s still coming in but we’re trying to stick with Florida’s (melon) crops,” said Raquel Mello of Hapco Farms “It’s been a tough start to the season.” 



Weather and disease impact season
Both weather and disease have caused issues. Early in the spring there was a freeze in northern Florida that Mello says caused a lot of farmers to have to replant. Meanwhile the southern part of the state was dealing with white fly disease. “It caused a huge shortage of crops in south Florida and that trend unfortunately continued.” The season has moved into central Florida but the issue there is a lack of rain. There has been vine collapse and melons ripening on the inside but not producing size. “We’re battling all angles right now,” she said. 

Supply in Florida is down. Tonnage per acre is usually four loads, but right now she says it’s one to two if they’re lucky. “Tonnage come off the fields is going to be much less.” That’s going to drive prices up. Current prices are between $154 - $161 per bin, FOB Florida. Last year was around $133. Memorial Day is coming up when demand for watermelon will start increasing. “We’ll get through this and we anticipate there will be much better supply with north Florida and Georgia overlapping. We’ll see much better supply end of June/4th of July.” 

For more information: 
Raquel Mello 
Hapco Farms 
Ph: (508) 496-8142 

Publication date: 5/10/2017
Author: Rebecca D Dumais
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


 


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