Researchers harvest data from watermelons

Data will benefit growers (Source:WALB)
Data will benefit growers (Source:WALB)
Published: Jun. 23, 2016 at 2:04 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2016 at 3:29 AM EDT
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More than 20 types of melons are in the study (Source:WALB)
More than 20 types of melons are in the study (Source:WALB)
Kalen Fleming, Intern (Source:WALB)
Kalen Fleming, Intern (Source:WALB)
Timothy Coolong, Extension Specialist (Source:WALB)
Timothy Coolong, Extension Specialist (Source:WALB)

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - It's watermelon harvest time in south Georgia.

On Wednesday, researchers at the UGA Tifton Campus were in the field checking out their watermelons.

Out in the field, watermelons are more than just a refreshing treat.

They spread across the one and a half acre research field at UGA Tifton and are providing information to farmers across the state.

And harvesting the data isn't easy work.

"It's hot. It's been hot all day. You're throwing around big melons, but they look good," said Kalen Fleming, an intern working on the project.

Weight, seed count and a number of other factors are being recorded during the variety study.

Researchers said that the fruits of their labor help out a lot of people. The watermelon industry in Georgia grows more than twenty thousand acres a year.

"It's important for us to get this data. So, that growers know what the best performing varieties are in this region," said Extension Specialist Timothy Coolong.

One field has more than twenty types of melons, researchers said they've noticed a significant change in this year's trial. Each fruit weighs about a pound and half more than last year on average.

And with the sun beaming down, you can bet those out picking them are having a taste.

"We might tear into one here and there. Its hot out here. You've got to cool off and enjoy it. Since, you're doing all the hard work," said Fleming.

And the effort pays off, in addition to a full stomach, growers will now have a better idea of what happens in the patch.

Researchers have three or four more harvests with the hopes of wrapping up around the July 4.

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