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AU: Strong prices for Australian winter watermelons
A Western Australian watermelon grower says that, apart from the past week, prices have been strong for melons over the winter months so far. Matt Gray from Ceres Farm in Kununurra, in the state's north, grows watermelons and pumpkins during the winter-spring months.
"Prices have been exceptional up until this week," Mr Gray said. "I think that's due to the conducive cooler weather across the country and possibly some flow on effects from the Cyclone in Bowen earlier in the year. Pumpkin prices are solid, but watermelon prices are coming back. But they have been really good so far, probably the best they have been for the past 3-4 seasons."
Mr Gray says it is shaping as an average year in terms of volumes, but signs are looking good for the rest of the season.
"We had a late start due to an above average wet season, which delayed planting a little bit," he said. "Just as we were starting to hit peak production, we had a bit of a cold period, which slowed everything down. It caused a bit of fruit cracking, but the weather has warmed up now and plantings are looking better day by day."
Ceres Farm is a surface irrigated farm growing its watermelons and pumpkins direct from seed without the use of mulch or pressure tap. For long term sustainability the produce is grown in rotation with grain crops. Ceres Farm supplies the domestic markets.
“We supply Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Darwin and we have sent more into Sydney and Brisbane than we have in previous years," Mr Gray added.
The young farmer is just hoping these "perfect" conditions last.
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