By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) - Monsanto Co., the world's largest seed company, said Wednesday that U.S. corn and soybean plantings in 2013 are likely to be similar to what was seen this year, though soybean acres may climb.
As the company starts selling its seed products for the spring planting season, Monsanto President Brett Begemann said the company was planning for about 96 million acres of corn planted in the United States in 2013, and 76 million or more in soybean acres.
"As I think about seed availability 2013 is set up to be remarkably similar to 2012," said Begemann in a conference call. "Last year storms and heat stretched our seed production. This year it was drought.
"We've built our overall U.S. plan based on the reality that 2013 corn acres are likely to be in the same 96 million acre range and soybean acres could potentially be higher than this year's 76 million acres."
The company said its corn pricing for next season is up 5-10 percent.
It has particularly high hopes for a new "DroughtGard" corn product that it tested through the western U.S. corn belt this season. The company said the drought-tolerant corn showed a 5 bushel per acre yield advantage over competitors.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam)
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