THE melon season has hit a crushing low as farm-gate prices fall 30 below the cost of production.
Australian Melon Association industry development manager Dianne Fullelove said watermelons cost 65 to 70 to produce, but were fetching as little as 50 a kilo at Perth and Melbourne wholesale markets last week, and only 40 in Brisbane.
Ms Fullelove said prices had dropped mid-January and hadn't recovered due to a domestic oversupply.
Australia didn't import any fresh melons and the oversupply was caused by producers growing too many melons and overlapping seasons.
"Growers need to be much more circumspect regarding how much they grow," Ms Fullelove said.
"Also the growing regions used to have distinct seasons, which didn't overlap, but now they have all extended seasons and overlap continually throughout the year.
"There is just way too much produce in the market."
This comes after last week's two-yearly Chinchilla Melon Field Day where growers celebrated the fruit and discussed the future of the industry.
Ms Fullelove said Australian consumers were slowly becoming aware of how to use watermelon in a variety of ways.
"We have been working with markets, dieticians and school groups to raise awareness," she said.
Many melon farms in Queensland were affected by recent floods, but Ms Fullelove said this would not raise prices.
"It won't bring prices up because there are so many late season melons being produced in NSW at the moment," she said.
"Some farms that planted Autumn crops when prices were better have had all of their seedlings washed away, but prices will remain very low."