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Monsanto’s earnings drop 34% in first quarter

Profit of $243 million reported, down from $368 million

By Diego Flammini,

As a result of record harvests in soybeans and corn that sent prices for the crops plummeting, farmers from South America and beyond reduced their need for corn seeds from Monsanto, dropping the company’s earnings by 34%.

They said corn acres dropped by about 20% in Argentina, 10% in Brazil, and their cotton planning in Australia saw reductions.

Their profits went from $368 million, trading for about 69¢ per share, to $243 million, or 50¢ per share.

The company said on the larger scale, the demand for corn and soybeans is still there and they expect their full-year earnings to be in the range of $5.75 to $6.00 per share.

"The near-term headwinds in agriculture persist, but our ability to deliver new solutions to help farmers improve yields while efficiently using resources provides the opportunity to deliver growth in both the current environment and over the longer-term," said CEO Hugh Grant in a statement.

Sales of their most popular herbicide, RoundUp, and other chemical products declined from $1.47 billion to $1.25 billion.

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