Piet Lotz, a farmer from Riversdale in the Western Cape, was crowned the 2018 champion at the 8th annual Giant Pumpkin Festival in Heidelberg this weekend with a pumpkin weighing in at an astounding 532.4kg.
His monster veggie was a little short of the current South African record of 556kg set by Hugo le Roux in March 2017.
“It’s fourth time lucky for me. I entered the competition on three previous occasions, but my pumpkins never passed the 300kg mark,” said an elated Lotz.
“This year’s conditions weren’t ideal for breeding giant pumpkins and I was afraid that my pumpkin was once again going to weigh too little.”
The champion pumpkin was grown from special hand-selected pumpkin seeds - Dill’s Atlantic Giant - supplied by Shoprite and Checkers to all competition entrants.
Imported from Canada and especially bred for size, the seeds aren’t treated or genetically modified in any way.
Second place this year went to Elizna Lotz with her 438kg pumpkin, followed by Pinkie Swart’s pampoen at 365.8kg.
Lotz received R14 000 in cash while second and third place walked off with R7 000 and R3 500 respectively.