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Agricultural Marketing Resource Center


By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, AgMRC, Iowa State University.

Profile updated May 2013 by Diane Huntrods, AgMRC, Iowa State University.


U.S. watermelon production in 2012 totaled more than 39 million cwt, up from 2011. The value of fresh market watermelons that year was nearly $520.8 million, also up from the previous year. The average price dropped 60 cents from 2011, falling to $13.30 per cwt.  (NASS)

The leading producers of watermelon in 2012 were the states of Florida and Georgia, followed by the states of California and Texas. Combined, these states accounted for 65 percent of U.S. production (NASS). China is, by far, the leading producer of watermelons.

Watermelons thrive in sandy or sandy loam soils. The crop is usually ready to harvest in about 90 days. Peak production occurs from May through August.

Most of the U.S. watermelon production is consumed fresh. Per capita fresh watermelon consumption in 2010 was 15.5 pounds (ERS). According to consumption data, women tend to eat more watermelon than men. About 85 percent of watermelons are purchased at the retail level for home consumption. Other processed products include roasted seeds, pickled rind and watermelon juice.

According to the University of Georgia, several marketing methods are used for watermelons. The method used depends on the grower and amount of production. Marketing methods include selling an entire field of production, using a broker or supplier, selling directly to truckers or stores or selling directly to customers at farmers' markets.


Commodity Highlight: Watermelon, Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2012 - Watermelon leads per capita use of all U.S. melon crops with a 60-percent share, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.

Food Availability, ERS, USDA.

Fruit and Tree Nuts, ERS, USDA.

Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook, ERS, USDA.

U.S. Watermelon Industry Statistics, ERS, USDA.

Vegetables Annual Summary, National Ag Statistics Service, USDA.

Watermelon Statistics, National Watermelon Promotion Board.



Links checked January 2013.

Related Links

Watermelons, Vegetables, Potatoes, and Melons Harvested for Sale: 2007 and 2002, 2007 Census of Agriculture - State Data, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, 2009.


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