Watermelons are growing at the Katherine Research Station for the first time since CGMMV

For the first time since the cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) was identified in the Northern Territory, melons are being grown at the Katherine Research Station (KRS). In a partnership between Seminis and the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR), approximately one hectare of commercial and pre-release varieties are being grown on the research station.

“The partnership allows us to assess varieties under NT growing conditions whilst remaining sensitive to recent biosecurity risks experienced by local commercial farms,” said David Rose, Regional Business Manager for the NT.

This arrangement is a win-win, as it has helped to kick-start melon research at KRS and has provided a convenient and safe trial site for variety evaluations. Regional agronomist, Dr Danilo Guinto, is managing the growth of the crop which forms part of a wider research, development and extension program for the NT melon industry, with DPIR recently delivering extension material which consolidated research and development findings into three information sheets available on the Melons Australia website.

Before the trial was planted, wet season cover crops of sorghum, millet, caliente and a mixture (millet, lab-lab and caliente) were planted. A field walk occurred before incorporation which formed part of the KRS field day held in April 2019. In addition, an IPM program is being managed by the regional entomologist Dr Thilini Ekanayake; and a CGMMV biosecurity plan was established to reduce the risk of infection.

The trial has been a steep learning curve as melons haven’t been grown at the site for years. We’ve received generous assistance from local growers, with Brett Dawson of Dawson’s Melons lending us his planter and Michael Curtis of King’s Bees supplying hives for pollination.

There will be a field day later in the year to assess the characteristics of varieties.

If you would like more information on this article, or to get hard copies of the information sheets, please contact:

Dr Matt Hall

Horticultural Extension Leader

Email:matt.hall@nt.gov.au

Phone: 08 8999 2043

Last updated: 16 October 2019

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