The biotech giant yesterday announced "record" net sales of $2.6bn for its second quarter, 19 percent up from last year's figure. Net sales for the company's first half of fiscal year 2007 reached the "record-to-date" figure of $4.2bn, 15 percent up on last year. According to Monsanto, sales were driven by increased corn seed and traits revenues in the US, although increased sales in the current quarter were partially offset by lower soybean seed and traits revenues in the country, as the total number of soybean acres is expected to be reduced in favor of corn. "While the 2007 agriculture season is shaping up to be an outstanding one, the strong demand that we've seen for our higher-yielding corn seeds and our higher-margin, triple-trait corn technology has translated into an excellent second quarter and first half for our business," said Monsanto chairman, president and chief executive officer Hugh Grant in a statement. The company saw net income for the quarter shoot up 23 percent to $543m, while income for the six months rose 27 percent to $633m. Monsanto's Seeds and Genomics segment, which includes its global seeds, traits and genetic technology platforms, grew 22 percent in the quarter as a result of stronger demand for the firm's branded corn seed products. The company said that this year its national corn seed brands are poised to gain market share in the United States for the sixth consecutive year. The increase could be 3 or more percentage points, it said, which would be the largest one-year gain for Monsanto brands in the corn seed market. "For the sixth straight year, our business is poised for market share gains in the US corn seed market. These results, which underscore our continued ability to deliver a higher- yielding corn product to farmers, highlight the value that each of our six growth drivers can contribute to our overall business and, ultimately, our growth trajectory through the end of the decade," said Grant. Monsanto said its technology trait acres were up across the board, with triple-trait corn technology expected to be grown on an estimated 16 million acres, or up more than 160 percent when compared with the 6 million acres the technology was planted on in 2006. The company also expects Roundup Ready corn to be planted on more than 50 million US acres, with YieldGard Rootworm and YieldGard Corn Borer expected to be planted on more than 19 million US acres and 40 million U.S. acres, respectively.