US farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative Land O'Lakes has reported net earnings of US$80.4m for the third quarter of 2005, compared to a net loss of $29.9m in 2004.

Sales were $1.7bn for the third quarter, compared to $1.8bn a year earlier. Third-quarter results include a positive net earnings impact of $82.6m due to the gain from the sale of the company's 38% ownership in fertiliser manufacturer CF Industries.

The third-quarter sales decline is due primarily to weak egg markets, with average egg prices over the first three quarters down 27% from one year ago.

Land O'Lakes said its branded products, such as Land O'Lakes Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil and Land O'Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil, continue to perform well.