US agribusiness Land O'Lakes highlighted its "solid" nine-month results after "market volatility" hit third-quarter profits.

Third-quarter net earnings were US$6.3m compared to $49.5m a year earlier. Earnings from operations stood at $3.5m, down from $41.9m.

Land O'Lakes said the drop was "primarily attributable to cyclical market devaluations that were anticipated following an exceptionally strong first half".

Net sales increased 5.1% to $3.13bn.

In the nine months to 30 September, net earnings grew 15.3% to $228.2m. Earnings from operations were up 8.7% at $236.6m.

Land O'Lakes said its three business divisions, including dairy foods, saw earnings improve year-on-year. The company said its dairy unit benefited from "strong markets" for its butter and cheese products, as well as improved branded butter volumes.

As well as higher profits, Land O'Lakes saw its top line improve, with net sales increasing 6% to $11.4bn.

"Our solid year-to-date performance reflects the successful implementation of on-going, long-term strategies that embrace the great growth industries of agribusiness and food production," president and CEO Chris Policinski said.