Land O'Lakes posted $59.9 million in net earnings in the third, nearly a 12-fold increased over last year's $5.2 million third quarter net. Year-to-date, the co-op is up $86.6 million in net earnings over last year.
Much of the boost, however, comes from a late 2007 "repositioning” of its Agronomy business. 2008 sales include $2.1 billion in crop protection product sales that would not have been included in LOL's financials last year. With those sales included, it appears net sales are up 49%. Without them, year-to-date net sales are up 16%.
In dairy foods, LOL reported third-quarter sales of $986 million and a pre-tax loss of $23.4 million. Year-to-date, LOL has actually sold $100 million more than a year ago. But its pre-tax earnings through September are just $16.3 million, down from nearly $80 million for the same period last year. (Last year's pre-tax earnings included a $28.5 million pre-tax gain on the sale of the Cheese and Protein International dairy plant in Tulare, Calif.)