Amongst speakers addressing investment analysts were executives from DuPont, Monsanto, Bunge, Dow Chemical Company and Corn Products International. According to DuPont Agriculture and Nutrition vice president Erik Fyrwald, the group expects to grow sales and earnings in 2007 as it also increases investments in high growth opportunities in plant genetics and biotechnology. "We have a much stronger seed product offering this year and are ramping up biotech traits for full supply in 2008 and beyond. We expect solid growth in 2007, moderated by increased investments this year that will drive further growth over the next five years," said Fyrwald. Fyrwald said the company has significantly increased the amount of seed with the three-way stack of biotech traits that are in high demand. At the same time, DuPont has increased its investment in the technology pipeline for its next-generation biotech traits and advanced crop protection products. In the past year, 44 percent of the DuPont crop genetics research pipeline advanced to a phase closer to the market, including four projects that moved to the pre-launch phase. In the past two years, 90 percent of the DuPont crop genetics pipeline has advanced phases in the company's research pipeline, it said. In Monsanto's address, the firm's chairman, president and chief executive officer Hugh Grant outlined pre-season highlights for its US seeds and traits business. "The 2007 season is shaping up to be an important year for agriculture. While we'd expect numerous ag companies to benefit from the expected rising tide in corn acres, Monsanto's unique ability to deliver a total performance package - across our seed and trait portfolio - will continue to serve as a key growth differentiator for our business within this expanding market and into the next decade," said Grant. He also discussed how Monsanto's seeds and traits business is expected to be shaped by six key factors leading up to the next decade. These include: its US and ex-US corn seeds and traits business; its international traits business; its cotton business; its Seminis fruit and vegetable seed business; and its R&D pipeline. "While it's still early in our fiscal year, we're on track and making real progress against each of these six factors. Our US business remains focused on growing corn seed sales, increasing the penetration of our trait technologies, and accelerating the adoption of our stacked-trait products," said Grant.