Majority of Mississippi’s watermelon crop ruined by weather


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – According to the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service, watermelon growers in southeast Mississippi lost much of their crop due to the summer’s wet weather.

“The weather and what it would do was my one concern this year,” said Heath Steede, MSU Extension agent in George County. “I knew if it kept raining, we could lose a good bit of the crop, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Officials said at least one George County grower lost 75% of his crop, and Steede estimates all other growers in the area will face approximately equal losses.

“You’ll find that kind of loss in all of the counties around here that have any watermelon production,” he said. “I was in several of our fields in mid-June. I saw some of the prettiest watermelons I’d seen in a long time. But when the rain started, it just kept coming every day. And it’s still raining.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress and Condition Report issued for the week ending July 18, 71% of watermelons were harvested compared to 78% in 2020. The previous week’s report, the latest to include watermelon crop condition, showed 66% of the crop was in good condition.

However, Steede said growers in southeast Mississippi fall into the poor and very poor condition categories. Thirteen percent of the crop was listed in fair condition, 12% in poor condition, and 10% in very poor condition.

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