2 of our neighbouring farmers planted watermelon in january 2011.
WM is a good cash crop, but is a high risk game. in our 14 months, 2 earlier attempts at WM have been resounding flops.
WM involves a high level of pest management - both of the insect variety, the animal variety and the human variety.
while the insect variety is apparent, it will surprise readers that foxes have a liking to play (not eat) with the fruits. also monkeys are known to render a farmer to despondency.
of course, the human insects are the most insidious and malicious.
so insecticide use is heavy and accepted and common.
while one neighbour resorted to electric wire fencing, the other sat through the night banging on this tin can making enough noises to keep the foxes at bay and give us some sleepless nights :-)
and this he did for over 3 weeks from the time the fruits matured.
this is Rs 200 worth from his harvest (the tin-can-banger).
he spent around Rs 35K over 2 acres and looks to have grown around 17 tons of WM (phew) at Rs 4.5K per ton. a profit of approx Rs 22K per acre, which is handsome (high risk, high return).
interestingly, the harvest was done on day 1, the truck loaded on day 1 evening, reaches bangalore day 2 early morning and is sold by end of day 2.
exchanging plesantries with him over the purchase, he swore never to raise this crop again...cannnot manage this level of night-outs!!
we heartily applaud his decision...