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Monsanto sees corn yield gains from its productsqrcode

Sep. 16, 2010

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Sep. 16, 2010

Monsanto Co. Wednesday sAId early harvest data showed some of its corn seed products planted on U.S. farms out yielding competition, a bright spot for a company beseiged by a range of competitive and legal pressures.

Monsanto announced the data a day after rival DuPont sAId it was gAIning market share in U.S. corn and soy seed sales as farmers migrated to its products.

Monsanto sAId harvest data was limited so far, but one corn product -- a genetically altered seed for control of earworm called Genuity VT Triple PRO Corn -- showed a yield advantage of 8.5 bushels per acre versus competitors in 1,400comparisons.

"Eight and a half bushels is pretty significant... a really positive outcome," sAId Brett Begemann, Monsantos executive vice president of seeds and trAIts in a presentation to a Credit Suisse chemical and agriculture conference.

Monsanto sAId there was not enough data to offer yield findings for the larger U.S. central corn belt or the western corn belt.

Begemann also sAId the company could not yet provide early harvest data for its new generation of Roundup Ready soybeans, dubbed Roundup Ready 2 Yield.

"The feedback we have been hearing... has been nothing short of very positive," he sAId. "We simply have to wAIt until the soybeans mature... for that trial data to come in."

Monsantos marketing of Roundup Ready 2 Yield has been fraught with complAInts. Several studies by agricultural experts have alleged that Monsantos advertised clAIms of higher yields for the new soybean seed were not realized last season. There were also widespread complAInts about high prices for the seed.

Begemann sAId a range of changes in marketing and pricing the seed has improved farmer views of the product.

"Roundup Ready 2 Yield... has had a very good year to this point," he sAId.

He sAId with the changes, a farmer need gAIn only 1 bushel an acre yield improvement to make the seed a positive investment for that farmer.

Monsanto is the worlds largest seed company, but has struggled with a range of competitive and customer concerns. Its share price fell nearly 50 percent from January to July a mid investor discontent.

Shares were off 24 cents at $57.75 in afternoon trading Wednesday, down about 34 percent from the years high.

Monsantos woes have come as rival DuPont gAIns. DuPont this month announced seed price increases to its customers, while Monsanto has been lowering prices and unbundling product offerings to counter customer complAInts.

Begemann acknowledged Monsanto has lost share in the soybean market and sAId its share was flat in corn, but he sAId the company was more focused on volume growth than market share.

And he sAId that healthy product performance this season, in combination with changes Monsanto has made in adjusting prices, offering farmers more varieties, and lifting requirements that tied products to seed treatments positions Monsanto well to win farmer purchases going into 2011.

"We are doing the things that farmers have asked us to do," Begemann sAId.

Source: Reuters

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