Melons – Cucumis melo

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crop: Melons
Result: Decreased crop loss from bacterial and/or fungal pathogens and increased crop shelf life
Location: Tolima, Columbia

A large-scale independent controlled field study in Colombia investigated the potential for Agrostim to increase crop yields, decrease crop loss from bacterial and/or fungal pathogens and increase crop shelf life for melons. The study also examined the cost/benefit analysis over the growing season under tropical environmental conditions, exacerbated by an “El Niño” caused drought in Colombia. Results were favorable, with plants treated with Agrostim have twice the shelf life, Fusarium Rind Rot decreasing by 45% and marketable crop yields more than doubling.

Background

Melons, which are members of the Cucurbitaceae family (cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, gourds, watermelons, cantaloupes, etc.), probably originated in Africa, with their first cultivation taking place in Egypt. Cultivation eventually spread to Europe, China, India and the rest of Asia. They have only recently been introduced in the Americas. There are numerous varieties of cultivated melons, which are grown principally for their sweet edible flesh and seeds which contain high proportions of oil.

Melons can be grown successfully in any region where minimum night temperatures average no lower than 55 0F and minimum daytime temperatures are no lower than 80 0F throughout the growing season. Melons grow on vines that creep along the ground for 6 to 10 feet or more and are usually planted in groups on mounds.

Study Design

Expanded Agrostim Melon studies were conducted in Colombia using the following “experimental design”:

Species: Cucumis melo – Cantaloupe
Cultivar: Excelsior
Location: Las Cabanitas Finca, Tolima, Colombia
Altitude – 450 meters, Ave. temperature – 28-320C.
Dates: 19 December 1997 – 10 February 1998
Test Area: 3,000 m2 with a total of 5,500 individual plants
Treatments:
Agrostim: 3.2 kg/ha Agrostim soil applied in 5 increments
Standard: 250 kg/ha 10-20-20 (NPK) chemical fertilizer, plus 10 kg/ha borax soil applied in 5 increments

Results Ave. Melon Ave. Shelf % loss Yield
Weight (kg) Life (days) to Rot (kg)

Agrostim Treatment 2.5 – 3.0 4-5 <5% 4,410

Standard Treatment 1.5 – 2.0 1-2 >50% 1,500

Cost/Benefit

Agrostim cost half as much as NPK
Shelf life doubled with Agrostim
Fusarium Rind Rot decreased by 45%
Agrostim melons were approximately 50% larger
Marketable crop yield increased by nearly 200%