Agrium Inc. (AGU) has entered into an agreement with Monsanto Company (MON), wherein, Monsanto will offer the use of its Climate Pro platform to Crop Production Service's ("CPS") grower customers. CPS is the retail unit of Agrium.
CPS remains focused on providing customers with the products and services required to grow the best quality crops. The Climate Pro platform will fit well with CPS’s present comprehensive precision agriculture products and services offering, known as Echelon.
Precision agriculture is an integrated information farming system offering the latest farming technology and data management. In Mar 2014, Agrium announced that it has rebranded its precision agriculture platform as Echelon, which includes best in class solutions for precision soil sampling, variable rate nutrient and seeding recommendations, yield data analysis, weather monitoring, precision field scouting and tissue sampling, aerial imagery analysis, record keeping and reporting. Echelon’s compatibility with most major equipment and controller makers allows farmers to access and act on their data from one system.
Agrium, through its Echelon brand, provides growers with easy access to their information and expanding the technology solutions which offers continual focus on seeding rates, nitrogen management and advanced analytics. Echelon is currently available across the U.S. and Canada.
Agrium released its first-quarter 2014 results last month. The company’s profit tumbled in the quarter as unusually cold weather in North America hit its businesses. Reduced railway availability and lower prices for nutrients in the wholesale business also weighed on the bottom line.
Agrium posted profit from continuing operations of $12 million or 8 cents per share in the reported quarter, falling roughly 92% from $146 million or 98 cents per share logged a year ago.
Agrium is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.
Other companies in the basic materials sector worth considering are Compass Minerals International Inc. (CMP) and Yara International ASA (YARIY). While Compass Minerals holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Yara International carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).