Approximately 115 acres of watermelons have exploded in parts of China–and no that’s not some outrageous Willy Wonka joke, it’s what happened to 20 farmers in Jiangsu after they injected a little too much of a growth hormone into their crop this season.
Forcholorfenuron is a growth accelerator that can increase the size of a fruit by 20%. It is legal and frequently used even in the US for fruits like kiwis and grapes. However, the farmers here got a little heavy handed. A lack of regulation for this growth hormone combined with a heavy rain spell and a watermelon variety with a thin rind ended up with entire fields of self-imploding watermelons like “landmines.”
“On May 7, I came out and counted 80 but by the afternoon it was 100,” said farmer Liu Mingsuo. “Two days later I didn’t bother to count anymore.”
The acres upon acres of ruined crop have been given to pigs and fish as feed instead.