Producing top quality melons
RACKEMANN Resources have three to four weeks of harvesting for this season’s watermelon crop at their Ban Ban property.
Ben Rackemann said last week this area received around 85mm of welcome rain. “We were only held up picking for about five to six days,” he said.
“There wasn’t too much damage to the crop but the rain was more beneficial to other crops in the area.” Along with some locals, Rackemann Resources’ major workforce are backpackers. “We have been harvesting on and off through the season since mid-December,” he said. “But we did get to have Christmas and Boxing Days off.”
Rackemann Resources’ aim is to produce the highest quality. “The bigger the better,” he said.
“We plant seedless variety as that is what the market demands.” Rackamelons, as they are branded, are transported mainly to the Brisbane market. With a far bit of fruit down south Mr Rackemann said it is uneconomical to freight them past the border.
He said prices for the season have been up and down. “We don’t have a lot of control over prices,” he said.
“We rely on our agents to get a good price for our product. “Probably by the end of the season it will be classed as average with regard to price.” With only three to four weeks of harvesting, Rackeman Resources will go onto pumpkins.
With watermelons you need a clean soil and no trash in the soil.
Rackemann Resources plants melons in blocks which are rotated with other crops. Ben Rackemann said rotating the paddocks helped with disease control.
“Every paddock serviced by underground bores has a ground monitor probe,” he said. “This helps prioritise what paddocks need or doesn’t need watering.
“This is critical in growing melons.
“Without this monitoring we are flying blind”.
The underground monitors can be hooked up to the phone or laptop.
Ben said with watermelon crops timing is everything. “We keep up the fungicides for protection from any weather events,” he said. “Disease doesn’t cause an impact if prepared.
“If you put your money in early you see a reward at the end.” Mr Rackemann said it wasn’t a nice situation the Bundaberg farms who have been placed under biosecurity restrictions last month with cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) are in. CGMMV is a serious disease of plants in the cucurbit family such as rockmelons, cucumbers and watermelons. CGMMV has been shown to be transmitted by seed. Mr Rackemann said there is now some very strict testing regime being undertaken on all seeds.
❝ If you put your money in early you see a reward at the end. — Ben Rackemann
JUICY WATERMELONS: It’s harvesting time at Rackemann Resources farm at Ban Ban.