GROWER demands for rockmelons in Australia are clear: a variety that meets market requirements with good internal and external characteristics, speed to maturity, size, flavour, shelf life and disease resistance. Get this balance right, says Complete AG and Seed Supplies' Paul Pezzaniti, and the entire chain will take care of itself.
"Finding a variety that meets the marketable criteria is essential for growers to ensure a ready-to-pick melon is easily identifiable and will last for 14 days or more, which will result in far less rejections in the marketplace."
From an aesthetics perspective, Australian growers continue to look for rockmelons high in sugar, with a small cavity, nice orange flesh, and with consistent netting and minimal blemishes. Demand from retailers acknowledges these criteria, along with a melon that has staying power.
Mr Pezzaniti believes Seminis' Jaipur melon meets these requirements and ticks all boxes when it comes to shelf life keeping qualities, good internal and external presentation, and speed to maturity. "Jaipur has a sweet and well balanced flavour and aroma with medium to firm flesh characteristics and a small seed cavity, which also makes for nice presentation once cut," he said.
With good genetics, the variety has a tough disease-resistance package, especially for certain skin diseases common to the rockmelon category, such as fusarium and Alterneria spp, which are often apparent on other varieties in the southern Australian region. It's also relatively easy to distinguish Jaipur's maturity, which leaves little room for error from the pickers in the field and gives strong consistency on shelf for consumers.
"Right to the end, the consumer is getting a high-quality, sweetflavoured melon which will last and doesn't need to be moved quickly from the supermarket shelves," Mr Pezzaniti said. "As a result, Jaipur is having very little problems with external breakdowns and receives less call-backs or rejections in the marketplace,"
Mr Pezzaniti believes Jaipur, marketed by Seminis, will work well for the grower in both the early and late growing segments in southern Australia.
"In the early segment. Jaipur sees high-quality internal and external characteristics, desirable size and strong speed to maturity and flavour.
"In the late segment, it continues to produce consistently sized, high-quality melons. This all translates to greater pack-out per acre, which means a better result on supermarket shelves."