A general rule of thumb in the industry, Dietz said, is that more than 900 loads shipped in one day spells disaster. According to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, more than 900 loads were shipped each day from June 16-18.
“There’s just way too many watermelons for this time of the year,” said Randy Smith, vice president of Midwest Marketing Co. Inc., Vincennes, Ind., which ships out of Florida, Georgia and Indiana. “We had such a good season last year in Georgia and northern Florida last year that the market is flooded with them. On top of that, we came in a week early in Georgia, and that hurt, too.”
Indiana’s crop will follow in the heels of Missouri, with the typical start date of July 15-20 being bumped up a week, said Marty Graham, owner of Graham Farms Melon Sales Inc., Avon Park, Fla., which has branches in Cordele and Carlisle, Ind.