MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill on Oct. 12 reported net earnings of $883 million in the fiscal 2011 first-quarter ended Aug. 31, up 68% from $525 million in the same period a year ago.

Excluding earnings from its majority investment in The Mosaic Company, Cargill earned $693 million, a 51% increase from $458 million in the year-ago period. First-quarter revenues rose 6% to $27.8 billion.

"Cargill posted a strong start to the new fiscal year," said Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer. "Our results were led by the food ingredients and the commodity trading and processing segments, both of which experienced resurgence in volatility across agricultural commodity markets. The change put Cargill's global breadth, trading and risk management skills more acutely into play as we worked with customers to help them manage their price risk and raw material needs."

Among Cargill's five business segments, earnings in food ingredients and applications were up moderately from last year, due to improved performance on a combined basis among the food ingredient and the animal protein businesses.

Origination and processing results rose significantly, as renewed market volatility and changes in trade flows created opportunities for trading and for serving customers' price risk and raw material needs. Industrial results were lifted by the increase in earnings attributable to Cargill's majority investment in The Mosaic Company.

Earnings declined in agriculture services, reflecting seasonality in North American farm services and volume pressure in some animal nutrition markets. The risk management and financial segment posted lower earnings, hampered by choppy energy markets that often moved out of step with supply-and-demand fundamentals.