Melons

Melons

The Australian Melon Association represents the biosecurity interests of melon producers and the industry. They are members of Plant Health Australia and signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives
  • participating in national committees and response efforts in an emergency.

Industry overview

In 2018–19 melon production was valued at $151 million (LPV), with exports valued at $37 million.

The Australian melon industry consists of approximately 250 growers producing, on average around 230,000 tonnes of melons annually across 8,500 hectares. Melons are produced in every mainland Australian state with the majority of production in Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Fresh seedless watermelons, rockmelon, honeydew and Piel de Sapo melons are the major products and are produced all year round.

The main form of value-adding is cut and wrapped fruit, fruit salad products and juices.

The main destinations for melon exports are New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Australian melon industry has a research and development levy, a PHA levy and an Emergency Plant Pest Response levy, currently set at zero. The industry contributes to a Varroa mite emergency response and the Torres Strait Fruit Fly Strategy.

A Melon Farm Biosecurity Program is funded through the PHA levy to engage with growers on biosecurity issues. In 2020, the melon industry updated their biosecurity plan and an on-farm biosecurity planner has been developed with New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

Annual value of melon production 2010–19

Distribution of melon production by state and territory, 2018–19 (based on LVP)

The Melon Biosecurity Program is an initiative to improve the management of, and preparedness for, biosecurity risks in the Australian melon industry at the farm and industry levels. Since 2018, the program has operated under a memorandum of understanding between PHA and the Australian Melon Association (AMA). It is funded by growers through the Melon Plant Health Australia (biosecurity) levy. A Melon Biosecurity Officer employed through the AMA represents the industry at all levels of government and industry on biosecurity matters, and develops and delivers information to raise biosecurity awareness among growers and other industry stakeholders.

For more information about the Melon Biosecurity Program email [email protected] or visit www.melonsaustralia.org.au.

Biosecurity Plan for the Melon Industry

Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the melon industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Biosecurity Plan for the Melon Industry provides a framework for biosecurity risk mitigation measures in the industry. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email [email protected]


The Exotic Pest Identification and Surveillance Guide for Tropical Horticulture was developed with funding from the Australia Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Inspecting crops for signs of new pests is one way growers can protect Australia’s plant industries from exotic pests, as early detection and reporting improves the chances of successfully containing or eradicating new pests. The guide is in two sections:

• Biosecurity and surveillance
• Identification of key exotic pests.

The Maximise your melon crop with better pollination brochure, produced by PHA working with Plant and Food Research NZ and Hort Innovation, brings together the science on best-practice for pollination in one place and provides clear steps for growers to assess their pollination during flowering to reduce the risk of pollination failure.

Many growers in Australia rely heavily on the free pollination services offered by wild or unmanaged European honey bees. But honey bees are not always the best pollinator for a crop.


Additional pollination information

Additional fact sheets and web links about the pollination of this crop are listed below. Please be aware that some of the information was developed overseas, and environmental and seasonal variations may occur.

Melon pollination fact sheet, The Pollination Program (AgriFutures Australia and Hort Innovation)

Beekeeping: watermelon pollination, University of Florida

Rockmelon and honeydew information kit, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Honey bee pollination of cantaloupe, cucumber and watermelon, University of California

Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of melons. These pests were identified during the development of the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Melon Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to some of these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email [email protected] for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Cucurbit bacterial wilt Erwinia tracheiphila
Fusarium root and stem rot of melons Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lagenariae, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. melonis (exotic races), Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. niveum (exotic races), Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radicis-cucumerinum (exotic races) FS FS FS FSFS
Groundnut bud necrosis virus Groundnut bud necrosis virus (Tospovirus)
Kyuri green mottle mosaic virus Kyuri green mottle mosaic virus (Tobamovirus)
Melon black rot (Phomopsis fruit rot) Phomopsis cucurbitae, syn Diaporthe melonis
Melon fruit fly Zeugodacus cucurbitae FS DP DP
Melon severe mosaic virus Melon severe mosaic virus (Tospovirus, family Bunyaviridae)
Melon yellow spot virus Melon yellow spot virus (Orthotospovirus)
Monosporascus root rot Monosporascus cannonballus FS
Oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis 2 FS FS FS FS FS FS FS DP DP
Silverleaf whitefly Bemisia tabaci (exotic strains) FSFS
Tomato leaf miner (Liriomyza bryoniae) Liriomyza bryoniae FS CP CP
Vegetable leaf miner Liriomyza sativae 3 FS FS FS FS FS FS FSCP
Watermelon bud necrosis Watermelon bud necrosis virus (Tospovirus)
Watermelon green mottle mosaic virus Watermelon green mottle mosaic virus (Tobamovirus)
Watermelon silver mottle virus & serogroup IV Watermelon silver mottle virus,/em> & serogroup IV (Orthotospovirus)
Zucchini green mottle mosaic virus Zucchini green mottle mosaic virus (Tobamovirus)

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of melons. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not tailored to melons and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
American serpentine leaf miner Liriomyza trifolii FS FS FS CP
Bacterial fruit blotch Acidovorax avenae subsp. citrulli FS
Coconut bug Amblypelta cocophaga FS
Fruit fly (Bactrocera invadens) Bactrocera invadens DP
Melon necrotic spot virus Melon necrotic spot virus (Carmovirus) FS
Pacific spider mite Tetranychus pacificus FS
Serpentine leaf miner Liriomyza huidobrensis FS FS FS FS CP
Solanum fruit fly Bactrocera latifrons DP
Strawberry spider mite Tetranychus turkestani FS
Tomato black ring virus Tomato black ring virus (Nepovirus) FS