Featured Produce News

Watermelon Industry at a Glance

July 07, 2014

Watermelon Harvest Techniques, Statistics and Reports

A quick look at watermelon planting, harvesting and packing:

 

 

2013 Crop Year, Watermelon

Value

$ 566.6 million

 

Production

3.9 billion lbs

(1,770,370 MT)

Domestic Consumption

4.7 billion lbs

(2,110,111 MT)

Exports

343 million lbs

(155,899 MT)

Imports

1.1 billion lbs

(495,692 MT)

Bearing Acres

127,472

 

Data Source: NASS, USDA and FAS, USDA

 

Production in the U.S.

Watermelon consumption and production in the United States has been on the rise in the last few decades. Growers, non-profits, and distributors have consolidated efforts to help make watermelon the most consumed produce per pound of all U.S. produce. All but about 24% of domestic consumption of watermelons comes from U.S. growers; the rest comes primarily from Mexico or Central American countries. Between the years 2000 and 2011, watermelon consumption per capita saw a 9.4% increase in consumption and today Americans eat more than 15 lbs of summer’s nectar each year.

 

U.S. Fresh Apple Trade

Click on Watermelon Farmgrate Value Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA

 

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market

Click on World Watermelon Production Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from ERS, USDA

 

Trade

China is by far the world’s largest producer of watermelon. In the United States, the states of Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California make up some 60 percent of the watermelon production market. Most consumption occurs in the summer months as the harvest season lasts between May and August.

 

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market

Click on U.S. Watermelon Acres Harvested Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA

 

Planting Information

Watermelons have a growing season between 70 to 90 days. They are a warm climate crop that requires soil temperatures to reach at least 21 degrees Celsius before planting. Colder regions can grow watermelons too but the seeds must first be germinated and should be a short season variety. Good drainage and a loamy soil with plenty of room to grow are keys to a healthy crop. When harvesting watermelon, when a hallow sound is produce by thumping the fruit then it indicates ripeness. Stripes on the top part of the watermelon will have little contrast in color when it is ready for picking. If a yellow or cream color is on the bottom then the fruit is ripe.

 

 

More Information on Watermelons

Miscellaneous reports from the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University
Look at this site: Watermelon

The National Watermelon Promotion Board promotes domestic watermelon consumption by providing education and industry information.
An Economic Analysis of Market Impacts of the National Watermelon Promotion Board

Watermelons have a rich history and have been consumed for centuries. Because of their ability to keep well and not spoil, watermelon was an ideal commodity for trade.
Here, the New York Times provides a simple history on Watermelons.

 

Watermelon Associations

            Alabama Watermelon Association
            Florida Watermelon Association
            Illiana Watermelon Association
            Mar-Del Watermelon Association
            National Watermelon Association
            North Carolina Watermelon Association
            Texas Watermelon Association
            Western Watermelon Association

 

 

The Federal Register

Crop Profiles, Harvesting and Trade

Agency and Congressional Hearings

Congressional Legislation

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