DuPont expects strong growth in 2011 seed business

Pioneer's 2011 success in North America is attributed to the company's year-round focus on helping customers address their unique needs through its Right Product Right Acre strategy.

DuPont confirms its seed business, Pioneer Hi-Bred, has shown strong early financial results through volume gains and price improvements for this season.

"Pioneer is on pace for strong growth in its global business in 2011,” said Paul E. Schickler, Pioneer president. “In North America, where the planting season is coming to a close, we anticipate an increase in corn and soybean market share coupled with mid single-digit price increases, in line with our objectives.”

Schickler attributes the 2011 North America success to Pioneer’s year-round focus on helping customers address their unique needs through its Right Product Right Acre strategy.

Corn seed business

“Strong customer demand in North America for our newest corn hybrids and Optimum AcreMax 1 system coupled with a smooth integration of the PROaccess business are key sales growth drivers in 2011,” Schickler said.

“Growers see the benefits of our Optimum AcreMax products and have planted this new product on almost 4 million acres this year, exceeding our expectations,” said Schickler. “Pioneer plans to build on the Optimum AcreMax 1 success with new integrated and reduced refuge product choices for growers in 2012, including Optimum AcreMax Insect Protection and Optimum AcreMax Xtra Insect Protection.”

Schickler said approximately 55 percent of Pioneer’s 2012 above- and below-ground lineup of triple-stack products containing Herculex XTRA will be converted to AcreMax 1 products.

“Managing refuge requirements for triple stacks is a larger challenge for farmers due to the in-field refuge requirement, and they are responding well to the solutions we have developed,” he said.

Soybean seed business

“Our brand leadership in soybeans since 1989 is a testament to the value and trust growers place in Pioneer brand soybean products, which have consistently demonstrated strong yields and exceptional agronomic and disease resistance advantages,” said Schickler.

He said the 29 new Pioneer soybean varieties for 2011 — developed for specific grower needs and locations — is an example of the stream of innovation which will help deliver further growth for the soybean business in 2012 and beyond.

As part of a product pipeline update, Schickler noted regulatory approval and commercialization plans for Optimum GAT soybeans are delayed by Monsanto’s actions, which are preventing the regulatory review of the stack. “We continue to work toward legal resolution regarding Optimum GAT soybeans to bring our first-choice innovation in expanded herbicide tolerance to the market,” said Schickler. “Our momentum in the marketplace is strong as we deliver superior products and services to growers. The depth of our soybean research programs will enable us to provide innovative products well into the future.”

As an example, Pioneer is working with a broad range of trait technologies with tolerance to herbicides such as glyphosate, auxins, glufosinate and ALS to help farmers manage weeds that have developed resistance to certain herbicides.

The Pioneer research pipeline includes a late decade introduction of its elite soybean genetics with the Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist trait and glyphosate trait options including the original Roundup Ready technology, pending regulatory approval, Schickler said.

Segment outlook

“The fundamentals of agriculture remain solid,” said Schickler. “Last December, DuPont announced its expectations for sales and pre-tax operating margin growth through 2015 for the Agriculture & Nutrition reporting segment, which included the seed, crop protection and nutrition and health businesses.

“Those expectations remain unchanged as these businesses, in the aggregate, are expected to deliver sales at a compounded annual growth rate of 8 to 10 percent from 2010-2015 and increase pre-tax operating margins in the range of 19 to 21 percent in the same time period.”

The preceding segment information does not reflect the recent Danisco acquisition either on a pro forma or forward-looking basis. The company expects to have integrated financial data beginning with the reporting of its second quarter 2011 earnings results.

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