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Monsanto Profits Projected to Drop Amid Decline in Corn Farming

Following a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicating a 4% drop year on year in land acreage dedicated to corn production, Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed producer, is expected to post a decline of approximately 7% in quarterly profits Wednesday as it feels the effects of a global decline of its biggest product.

Earnings may be reported in accordance with a Bloomberg survey average estimate of $2.94 per share for the company, compared to earnings of $3.15 per share a year earlier on sales of $5.59 billion. In the company’s first fiscal quarter, sales of its corn seed and trait business fell 12% and revenues for its agriculture division dropped by 15%. In response, Monsanto cut back on operational costs, however, company executives still forecast that second quarter earnings will fall by 10%.

In contrast, sales for the company’s soybean segment climbed 50% in the first quarter compared to a year before as soybean acreage increased by 6%. Soybean sales reached $400 million, however, soybeans account for only 13% of company’s returns – less than half of what corn generates.

Complicating matters, the company’s agribusiness division recently took a hit after its RoundUp weed killer was on the receiving end of bad press after claims that it has possible cancer causing effects, something Monsanto refutes.

Because Monsanto’s corn business generates the highest margins for the company, it will be important that the company offer a positive outlook for the near-term.

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