Cost estimates for grafted, non-grafted, and direct- seeded cantaloupes
Break-even production cost/price estimates were obtained from grafted, non-grafted, and direct-seeded cantaloupes (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis) using randomized rows within a commercial producer's field in western Arizona. Both non-grafted and grafted transplants had a planting density with rows spaced 80 apart and plants spaced 14 apart within each row. The cost of non-grafted and grafted transplants was imputed at $ 0.06 and 0.60 plant‑1. Cantaloupes were harvested daily as they were visually determined to be ripe by commercial pickers and the fruit size of each melon was recorded along with whether the fruit quality was marketable or not. Size 12 cantaloupes were set as the base price and premiums or discounts for other sizes were made on the percentage difference in prices reported by USDA/Agricultural Marketing Service for major wholesale markets. These percentages relative to size 12 cantaloupes were multiplied by the yields obtained for the other melon sizes to obtain break-even costs/prices. Because non-grafted, grafted, and direct-seeded transplants were all in the same field, the timing and amount of inputs such as fertilizer, planting, and irrigation were all the same. This may not have been what was optimal for say grafted transplants or direct-seeded melons. Four years of data were collected with the two fall crops of 2007 and 2008 and two spring crops of 2009 and 2010. Except for 2009, grafted plots had yields that were essentially on par with non-grafted and direct-seeded plots. Given that the costs of transplants were 10 times that of non-grafted plants or $ 3,024 acre‑1 more, break-even costs/prices were the highest for grafted transplants. The spring of 2009 is the only year where the lowest break-even cost/price estimates for grafting are below the highest cost estimates for non-grafted and direct-seeded melons.
Tronstad, R., Gupta, R. and Kubota, C. (2021). Cost estimates for grafted, non-grafted, and direct- seeded cantaloupes. Acta Hortic. 1302, 141-146
break-even costs/prices, commercial, fruit size, wholesale melon prices