Javelin watermelon a weapon in our bad weather
THE deluges that wreaked havoc across the region late last year could have devastated melon grower Andrew Martens if it wasn't for the javelin breed of watermelon.
For Andrew Martens, co-owner of Marto Farms, a year's average rainfall falling on his watermelon crop in only two months was not what he expected during harvest this season.
Unfortunately for the Bundaberg vegetable grower, this is exactly what happened in the latter half of 2017.
"Some watermelon varieties really don't cope well with such extreme rainfall," he said.
"That's why we were extremely happy that we decided to grow Javelin again this year."
Javelin is Syngenta's latest watermelon, bred specifically for Australian growers and markets, featuring a shorter maturity than some traditional varieties.
"Because the variety has a faster maturity rate than others it allowed us to harvest a little earlier, which ended up making all the difference," Mr Martens said.
"We were able to get the whole crop off, despite the challenging conditions.
"We find the internal quality better than older varieties too, so even with the weather we were still picking really good fruit."
Mr Martens is no first-time grower - he and his family are known as leaders in the watermelon space, having been involved with trialling new seedless varieties since their introduction into the Australian market almost 20 years ago.
"Eight years ago I travelled to the US to preview early trials of javelin," he said.
"I was so impressed with the variety I came home and trialled it locally on our farms.
"I've been growing the variety ever since.
"What attracted me to the variety was its new, superior genetics. It really has set a new benchmark for seedless watermelon."
Javelins have a crisp, sweet, deep-red flesh with small pips, which Andrew says is what the market is after.
"Performance wise, it's the best."