Watermelon Crops Guide

Estimated Cost $700 to $1500 per acre
Market Outlets Wholesale, grocery store, food service companies, farmers markets, roadside, pick-your-own
Market Potential Moderate; seasonal peaks; very competitive at times. Demand for seedless types increasing.
Yield Potential 10,000 – 70,000 lbs/ac
Profit Potential $0 to $2,000 per acre
Adapted Areas Statewide
Labor Requirements 1 to 2 man-days per acre during harvest, hand harvested
Equipment Requirements Tractor, shredder, mulch applicator (optional), disk, bedder, planter, transplanter, insect/disease sprayer, trailer
Soil Requirements Sandy to medium textured soil with good drainage
Water Requirements 15 to 20 inches water per acre during season
Minimum Size 1 to 10 acres
Risk Factor Moderate; seedless types – high
Other Limiting Factors Early freeze, weeds, diseases, rain and insects. Must have honey bees for crop pollination.
Comments Wholesale costs range from 25 to 35 percent for growing and 65 to 75 percent of costs for harvesting, grading, labor and transportation. (Direct-to-consumer sales have a volume limit but return more per unit to producer.) Seventy percent of watermelons are consumed in June, July and August. Seedless or triploid types becoming more popular but require higher degree of management than the hybrid and open pollinated varieties. Seedless varieties require transplant establishment and seeded varieties in the field to serve as pollinaters. Well suited to plastic mulch and drip irrigation.

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