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Monsanto Earnings Drop in 3rd Quarter

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Monsanto said earnings in its third-quarter fell 6 percent as sales of its popular biotech seeds lagged, but the agribusiness giant boosted its outlook for the year and announced a plan to double its earnings during the next five years.

The company also announced a plan to repurchase $10 billion in its stock.

Monsanto said during the three months ended May 31, it earned $858 million, or $1.62 a share, a decline from $909 million, or $1.68 per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue edged up slightly, rising $2 million to $4.25 billion.

Monsanto, which produces its popular genetically modified seeds and Roundup herbicide, said sales of corn seeds and traits dipped 16 percent to $1.3 billion, while soybean seeds and traits rose 24 percent to $816 million. Sales in its agricultural productivity division, which includes its herbicides and other crop protection products, rose $16 million to $1.2 billion.

DuPont lowers outlook on ag operations

DuPont Co. said Thursday it expected to earn less in the second quarter and during its fiscal 2014 year, due in large part to weakness in its agriculture division.

DuPont said the lowered outlook in its agriculture operations, which includes its DuPont Pioneer unit located in Johnston, reflects lower-than-expected corn seed sales and a larger reduction in the value of its seed inventory. The company said that while soybean sales volumes in North America are higher than expected, it will not be enough to offset the decline in corn volume. DuPont also said weather resulted in lower-than-expected herbicide sales.

"While 2014 is a transition year in agriculture, the revisions to the outlook we made today do not meet the expectations we set for our agriculture segment or for the company," said Ellen Kullman, chief executive of DuPont.

The agribusiness and chemical giant expects operating earnings in the second quarter to be "moderately" below the $1.28 per share recorded in the same period last year. The change to its second quarter led the company to lower its full-year outlook for operating earnings to $4.00 to $4.10 per share from its previous forecast of $4.20 to $4.45. DuPont called the second-quarter challenges for the company in its agriculture operations "a short-term negative trend."

DuPont will report its second-quarter financial results July 22.

Dead zone expected to be size of Connecticut

U.S. scientists are expecting an average "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico in 2014 that will cover an area about the size of the state of Connecticut.

The forecast, developed by researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others, said the dead zone off of Louisiana and Texas is expected to reach a size of between 4,633 and 5,708 square miles.

The zone is caused by nutrient runoff, primarily from human activities such as wastewater and fertilizer used in agriculture to grow crops. The runoff stimulates an oversupply of algae that consumes most of the life-giving oxygen supply in the water, driving away sea life.

The largest dead zone on record was 8,480 square miles in 2002.    
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