The Texas Agricultural Extension Service Winter Garden Spring

Document Sample
The Texas Agricultural Extension Service Winter Garden Spring Powered By Docstoc
					The Texas Agricultural Extension Service
   Winter Garden Spring Watermelon
     Trial Yields Impressive Results
      Larry Stein, Kenneth White and Frank Dainello


                                                Summary                      are required to enable sufficient yield
                                                                             increases to merit the additional cost
                                        The Texas Agricultural Exten-        of the hybrids.
                                   sion Service has conducted water-
                                   melon trials for years. Recently we             The Texas Agricultural Exten-
                                   have coordinated efforts to conduct       sion Service has conducted water-
                                   statewide trials under similar uniform    melon trials for several years. In
                                   test conditions. These trials are         recent years, there has been a
                                   conducted in the Winter Garden, East      coordinated effort to conduct state-
                                   Texas and the Cross Timbers of            wide trials under similar uniform test
                                   Central Texas. The combination of         conditions. These trials have been
                                   optimum weather conditions and the        conducted in the Winter Garden, East
                                   drip irrigation and plastic mulch         Texas and the Cross Timbers of
                                   production system resulted in excep-      Central Texas. The major objective of


B
                                   tionally high yields. Of the 21 hybrids   these trials is to demonstrate the high
     OTTOM LINE                    in the trials, 9 produced fruit yields    yielding potential of the new hybrid
        Impressive melon yields    which exceeded the standard open          and triploid (seedless) varieties grown
are possible using the proper      pollinated check variety ‘All Sweet’.     using state of the art production
varieties and the intensive        Five, namely Patriot, Big Stripe,         systems.
management techniques of plastic   Desert Storm, Summer Flavor 420
mulch and drip irrigation.         and WX7 yielded in excess of 80,000                  Experiment
                                   lbs/A. Of the 17 seedless varieties, 9
                                   produced greater yields than the               The Winter Garden trial was
                                   industry standard, TriX-313. Over         conducted in cooperation with
                                   100,000 lbs/A of marketable fruits        Willoughby Farms of Batesville. On
                                   were obtained from TriX Shadow,           April 11, 21 hybrid varieties and 17
                                   Gem Dandy, Premier and Summer             seedless varieties were transplanted
                                   Sweet 5544.                               into black plastic mulched, 80" wide
                                                                             raised beds. The transplants were
                                              Introduction                   grown and provided by Peterson
                                                                             Brothers of San Antonio.         The
                                         Historically, watermelon has        seedlings were spaced 2.5 feet apart
                                   been considered a low input crop. As      within a single plant row per bed.
                                   such, the majority of the Texas           Crop supplemental water needs were
                                   watermelons have been grown under         supplied through drip irrigation tape
                                   dryland conditions. As a conse-           buried 4-6" below the plastic mulch.
                                   quence, Texas growers annually            On June 27 the plots were once over
                                   produce an average of 15,000 to           harvested.
                                   20,000 lbs of marketable watermelon
                                   fruits per acre. As the industry moves                  Results
                                   from the use of low priced open
                                   pollinated varieties to the more               A partial grade out of a number
                                   expensive hybrids, increased inputs       of varieties is presented in Tables 1
                                          Table 1. 1996 Statewide Hybrid (standard) Watermelon Trials - Batesville, TX
                                                                                                Pounds fruit harvested/A/Size Grade (Avg. lbs/fruit)

                                                                        Mkt. yld
                                                       Entry                           >30        25-29       20-24        15-20        10-14           <10
                                                                        (lbs/A)

                                          Patriot                        90358        1741        32557         0          32035          8356           0
and 2. For a full report on all
                                          Big Stripe                     90010        4091        32383         0          12013          4700           0
varieties, contact one of the authors.
                                          Desert Storm                   87312          0         39259       23329        13406        11318            0
                                          Summer Flavor 420              85048          0           0         11665       60065           7138          6180
Conclusions and Implications              WX 7                           80957        4091        13058       7138        14276           5571           0
                                          All Sweet                      61283          0         21414       23678        11665          4527           0
      The combination of optimum
weather conditions and the production                                                        % Fruit harvested/A/Grade (Avg fruit size)

systems utilized resulted in exception-                                 Mkt. yld
                                                       Entry                           >30        25-29       20-24        15-20        10-14           <10         culls
ally high yields. Of the 21 hybrids in                                  (lbs/A)

the trial, nine produced fruit yields     Patriot                        90358          9           27          0           33             6             0           25
which exceeded the standard open          Big Stripe                     90010         21           21          0           10             14            0           34
pollinated check variety ‘All Sweet.’     Desert Storm                   87312          0           28          16          14             16            0           26

Of these, five (Patriot, Big Stripe,      Summer Flavor 420              85048          0           0           9           56             12            11          12

Desert Storm, Summer Flavor 420           WX 7                           80957         29           11          7           20             6             0           27
                                          All Sweet                      61283          0           17          14           9             5             0           65
and WX7) yielded in excess of 80,000
                                          The predominant cause of culled fruit was due to blossom end rot and/or bottle necking.
lbs/A (Table 1).

     Of the 17 seedless varieties, nine
produced greater yields than the           Table 2. 1996 Statewide Triploid (seedless) Watermelon Trials - Batesville, TX
industry standard, TriX 313. Over                                                            Fruit harvested/Acre/Grade (Avg fruit size)
100,000 lbs/A of marketable fruits                                    Mkt. yld
                                                      Entry                           >30         25-29       20-24        15-20        10-14          <10
were obtained from TriX Shadow,                                       (lbs/A)
Gem Dandy, Premier and Summer             Tri X Shadow                 111599          0             0           0         38476        47791          25332
Sweet 5544 (Table 2).                     Gem Dandy                    105331          0             0        13928        28204        36735          26463
                                          Premier                      104983          0           4178          0         66507        12187          22111
      These data continue to show the
benefits of intensive management of       Summer Sweet 5544 104809                     0          13406       25071        42655        12709          10968
fields using plastic mulch and drip       Tri X 313                    90619           0             0         7312        55364        16365          11578
irrigation.
                                                                                            % Fruit harvested/fruit size grade - (no. fruit)
     Hence, we do not necessarily
need more acres to increase total                                     Mkt. yld
                                                      Entry                           >30         25-29       20-24        15-20        10-14          <10     culls
                                                                      (lbs/A)
yields. In fact, we may be better off
managing fewer acres properly.            Tri X Shadow                 111599          0             0           0           25            37           36      2
                                          Gem Dandy                    105331          0             0           7           23            31           33      6
                                          Premier                      104983          0             2           0           46            11           34      7
                                          Summer Sweet 5544 104809                     0             6           17          35            15           19      8
                                          Tri X 313                    906019          0             0           4           51            22           21      2
                                          Note - major causes for culls - blossom end rot and bottle necking