US agribusiness giant Cargill has recorded a decline in third-quarter earnings as the drought hit supplies of crops and raised feed costs.

In the three months to the end of February, net profit amounted to US$445m, a 42% decline on last year, the firm reported today (9 April).

“In North America, our meat processing businesses were pressured by the drought-related high cost of feed ingredients,” said CEO Greg Page. “Even though many of our global food ingredients businesses experienced higher input costs, they nearly matched their strong performance in last year’s third quarter.”

Earnings in the firm’s agriculture services were down largely due to the prolonged impact of last year’s drought-reduced crops in North America. Animal nutrition results were affected by Venezuela’s currency devaluation in February and by “difficult” economic conditions in meat and dairy production in several regions.

Sales, however, edged up 1% to reach $32.2bn.