Land O'Lakes Inc. this week released higher third-quarter 2017 financial results showing quarterly net earnings of $47.5 million, up from 2016 third-quarter net earnings of $8.1 million.
Year-to-date net earnings were also higher, at $270.4 million, on sales of $10.2 billion, compared with net earnings of $246.4 million on sales of just under $10 billion for the same time period in 2016, reflecting an overall increase of approximately 9.8%. Third-quarter sales remained constant at $2.8 billion for both 2017 and 2016.
The company said third-quarter earnings benefited from strong performance in the Crop Inputs and Animal Feed segments, which was partly offset by lower earnings in Dairy Foods and investments in Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN. Earnings in Crop Inputs were driven by higher volumes in alfalfa and improved margins in crop protection products. Animal Feed volumes were lower than 2016 levels, but margins and product mix improved across the portfolio. Dairy Foods benefited from strong volumes in foodservice, but overall margins were lower due to declines in global milk powder markets, which affected pricing.
"Despite strong headwinds and volatility in commodities, Land O'Lakes, Inc. continues to grow based on smart investments and a focused strategy," said Chris Policinski, president and chief executive officer of Land O'Lakes Inc. "The recently finalized merger between WinField and United Suppliers has given the company the opportunity to drive costs out of our business and improve pricing and service for our members, giving them an advantage in the market and the ability to run their operations more profitably."
Ames, Iowa-based United Suppliers and Land O'Lakes' crop protection and seed businesses combined in October 2015 and operate as WinField United. The two companies completed their merger in early October 2017.
Also during the third quarter, the company celebrated the grand opening of the WinField United Innovation Center in River Falls, Wis., a 55,000 sq. ft. product and technology development and testing facility that will help give farmers better tools to grow crops more sustainably.
In July, the company kicked off the Land O'Lakes Farm Bowl, a celebration of modern farming as part of its Founding Partnership with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.