Texas cantaloupe and watermelon producers see growing demand

As the Fourth of July draws near, conditions have been ideal for cantaloupe and watermelon growers, say Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, said dry, sunny days around most of the state’s production areas created ideal conditions for cantaloupes and watermelons to grow relatively free of disease.

Cantaloupes and watermelons are typically enjoyed in the heat of the summer. Sales start as summer opens and then typically tail off by the end of August.
Texas is the top producer of watermelons in the nation, and they are the No. 1 horticultural crop in Texas. The state-wide watermelon crop in 2016 was worth more than $75 million, according to AgriLife Extension annual reports, down 25 percent from more than $100 million in 2014.

Stein said the plant’s expanding root system and ability to adapt to dry conditions on dryland fields make much of the state good for watermelon and cantaloupe production. However, several areas, such as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and North and East Texas, have higher concentrations of fields.

According to freestonecountytimesonline.com, growers are getting the best prices they’ve seen in years. Oversupply from Mexico really impacted prices in the past few years. This year, Florida producers had trouble and Mexico scaled back pretty significantly, so people are paying more for watermelons.

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