A hot, dry summer has hurt the rural services of agribusiness Elders and it expects to report a small underlying loss in earnings for the first half.
"Dry and hot weather conditions over the summer have led to a reduction in demand for agricultural chemicals across the cropping and livestock sectors," Elders chief executive Malcolm Jackman said.
Sales of farm supplies were down 10 per cent compared with the same time last year.
Also, dry conditions had resulted in reduced pasture and lower demand for cattle to restock farms.
Elders said, however, that its live export operations were performing as expected, and feedlot operations were continuing to perform strongly.
Mr Jackman said the top end of Australia had not had a normal wet season. South Australia and the western parts of NSW and Victoria had little or no rain. Western Australia did not have huge amounts.
Mr Jackman said that in broadacre cropping in summer, farmers would normally expect about four sprayings for weeds. "In most places there's been none," he said.
Mr Jackman said Elders had not quantified the expected underlying earnings loss for the six months to March 31 because there had been a reasonably good pick-up in March.