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Agriculture News: Monsanto Earnings Take a Big Hit


Plus, egg producer Cal-Maine's profits have hard-boiled resilience in the face of summer drought, and more!

This column highlights the past week's most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on agriculture from around the Web.

Value Walk
Monsanto Reports $229 Million Net Loss Due to Weak Seed Sales
"Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), the world's largest seed company and producer of genetically engineered crops, such as corn and soybeans, reported a sluggish financial performance during the fourth quarter of 2012...A report from Reuters cited that the company plans to increase the price of its corn seeds by 5 to 10 percent during the upcoming planting season."

RTT News
Mosaic Co. Fell to Over a 2-Month Low After Q1 Report
"Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS) reported first quarter EPS of $1.01 Tuesday [10/2] morning, down from $1.17 last year. Revenues fell to $2.51 billion, from last year's $3.08 billion....Mosaic gapped open lower Tuesday and fell during the first half of the morning. The stock closed down by 2.25 at $55.76 on strong volume. Mosaic dropped below a trading range and set a 2 1/2 month low."

Daily Finance
Dow AgroSciences Acquires Cal/West Seeds
"Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) , announced today that it has acquired the assets of Cal/West Seeds based in Woodland, Calif. Cal/West is a leading supplier of alfalfa, clover, and other crops to seed companies and growers in the U.S., Canada, and 25 other countries around the world. The addition of Cal/West Seeds expands Dow AgroSciences' alfalfa business and strengthens its global forages business."

The Business Journal
Syngenta Closes on DuPont Professional Products Deal
"Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) has completed its $125 million acquisition of DuPont (NYSE:DD) Professional Products, according to the trade journal Pest Control Technology. The deal expands Syngenta's portfolio of insecticide brands and adds a number of DuPont Proofessional Products employees to its staff."

International Business Times
Global Food Prices on the Rise
"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported this morning that its global food price index rose to 216 in September, + 1.4% (3 pts) from August. The rise is attributed to higher prices for meat, dairy and cereal grains...While shrinking Maize export availabilities and high Maize prices have been leading cereal markets in recent months, tightening Wheat supplies have also become a concern. Nonetheless, international Wheat prices fell towards 2-H of the month, following the announcement by the Russian Federation that it would not impose restrictions on exports."

[Many investors have exposure to corn, soybeans, and wheat through the Teucrium Corn Fund (NYSEARCA:CORN), Teucrium Soybean Fund (NYSEARCA:SOYB), and Teucrium Wheat Fund (NYSEARCA:WEAT).]

Wall Street Cheat Sheet
Here's Why These Food Stocks Are Getting Slammed
"High grain prices in June and July – partially due to widespread drought in the United States – drove feed prices up, and farmers are in turn passing on those costs to the consumer....This has eaten into the margins of meat producers like Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE:PPC) and Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN). Pilgrim's Pride and Tyson Foods were among the food stocks to take a beating at the end of July because of uncertainty related to the droughts, and haven't fully recovered."

No Bacon Shortage, but Higher Pork Prices Likely Next Year
"Despite a report from Britain's National Pig Association last week predicting a worldwide shortage of bacon due to drought, the U.S. is not experiencing a pork shortage, an Ohio State University Extension swine specialist says....But consumers can expect to pay higher prices at the grocery counter next year because of a decrease in pork supplies as a result of the 2012 drought, which has been the worst in decades, Steve Moeller said."

[Looking for ways to play the price of pork? Check out China's leading pork producer Zhongpin Inc. (NYSE:HOGS) or US food processing mainstay Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD).]

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Shares Cross 2% Yield Mark
"In trading on Tuesday [10/2], shares of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE:POT) were yielding above the 2% mark based on its quarterly dividend (annualized to $0.84), with the stock changing hands as low as $41.58 on the day."

Cal-Maine Foods Q1 Profit Soars - Quick Facts
"Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:CALM) posted first-quarter net income of $9.4 million or $0.39 per share, a surge from $3.1 million or $0.13 per share reported a year ago...'Our specialty egg sales have continued to trend higher and represented over 16.1% of dozens sold and 23.5% of total shell egg sales revenue for the quarter.'"

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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