reported on Jan. 8 that Cargill emerged as one of the winners of the U.S. bumper corn and soybean harvests, seeing its earnings soar 41%, as strong crop volumes boosted its grain handling operations, while low ag prices lifted processing margins.

The U.S.-based group — with Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Louis Dreyfus one of the big four agricultural trading houses — reported earnings of $784 million for the September-to-November period, its best quarterly performance in more than 2 years.

For many agriculture groups, such as farm machinery makers, record U.S. corn and soybean harvests have been a negative, with the resulting crop price weakness hitting farm income and growers' willingness to invest.

However, for grain merchandisers, the high crop volumes have allowed them to operate at higher rates, so spreading overheads, while users such as soybean crushers and livestock producers have enjoyed lower raw material costs.

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