(AP) — Monsanto's fiscal third quarter net income slipped 3 percent, as hits to the agricultural product company's cotton and soybean seed segments weighed on revenue growth.
The St. Louis company said Wednesday that its revenue for the latest quarter inched up less than 1 percent as Monsanto booked a smaller contribution from its Brazilian soybean business and saw a drop in overall planted cotton acres. The seed giant also said higher production costs resulting from last year's drought affected its results.
In contrast, Monsanto's revenue had soared 17 percent a year earlier as a mild spring helped spur farmers to sow crops earlier and in larger numbers.
The company earned $909 million, or $1.68 per share, in the quarter ended May 31, down from $937 million, or $1.74 per share, a year ago. Revenue inched up less than 1 percent to $4.25 billion.
Monsanto earned $1.66 per share, not counting a tax matter resolution.
Analysts expected earnings of $1.61 per share on $4.41 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.
Shares of Monsanto fell 80 cents to $100.60 in late morning trading Wednesday, while broader trading indexes climbed less than 1 percent. Its shares had peaked for the past year at $109.33 in mid-May. They are up from a low of $78.75 almost a year ago.
Monsanto Co. makes seeds for crops like corn, soybean, cotton and wheat and crop protection chemicals like the herbicide Roundup. The agricultural giant produces genetically engineered seeds used by farmers for their pest resistance and ability to produce bigger crops.
Corn, which is used for food, fuel, animal feed and soda syrup, is by far Monsanto's largest unit.
Genetically enhanced crops are grown on more than 420 million acres in nearly 30 countries by over 17 million farmers worldwide, the World Food Prize Foundation has said. Many U.S. farmers credited genetic modifications in corn with saving last year's crop from all but total devastation as half of the nation endured the worst drought in 60 years.
But these crops also have drawn criticism from organic food advocates who say they are harmful to people and the environment. Last month, protesters organized "March Against Monsanto" rallies in several countries over genetically modified food.
Monsanto has maintained that its seeds improve agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving resources such as water and energy.