Monday, February 2, 2009

Fertilizer news

The Monsanto fertilizer plant in Caribou County, Summer '08--Putnam photo

Monsanto Profitable, Expanding

Soda Springs--Monsanto Company is proving itself recession proof. The Roundup ready giant’s first-quarter earnings paid out a buck a share -- doubling last years first quarter.

It’s the round-up product lines thats blowing away traditional rivals DuPont, and Syngenta. Seed sales are up 31% compared to last year. Roundup herbicides did even better, up 35% compared to last year.

The 2009 season looks like another record breaking year for the company. Through the end of December, prepayments for seeds were 50% ahead of last year. That's also good news fertilizer makers PotashCorp, Mosaic, and Agrium and equipment makers like John Deere.

Sugar industry representatives say that just over half of the sugar beets planted this year were Roundup Ready created by Monsanto. They say farmers who used the product have a demonstrated and clear-cut edge in weed control.

And those that planted GMO beets this year say there's far less cultivation, not as many passes in the field with fewer sprayings. Most conventional beets have a minimum four applications of spray per season while roundup has just two applications. With fewer trips across the field farmers save diesel.

It also shows that Farmers are still planting, despite lower commodity prices.
Monsanto officials outlined the need for a new phosphate mine outside of Soda Springs at a legislative lunch last week. Company officials are looking at the Blackfoot Bridge Mine site just a few miles to the south with a target opening date of 2011.

"The Roundup fields look a lot better," said farmer Sid Freeman. "They're more expensive, but workers are getting harder to find, bottomline it's less hassle and a lot less work."

Beet farmers have battled weeds for decades, Freeman says despite the cost of Round up he makes up for it in higher yields."With those weeds you can lose three, four-ton less per acre," adds Freeman.

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