A hot and dry summer has hurt the rural services operations of agribusiness and perennial underperformer Elders.
Consequently, Elders expects to report a small underlying loss in earnings for the first half of its fiscal year.
"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 in a statement.
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.
Elders' New Zealand network was performing well, with results to date ahead of the prior year despite drought on New Zealand's North Island.
Mr Jackman said the top end of Australia had not experienced a normal wet season.
South Australia and the western parts of NSW and Victoria had had little or no rain.
WA had had some rain but not huge amounts.
Mr Jackman said that in broadacre cropping over summer, farmers would normally expect to have about four spraying events to combat summer weeds.
"In most places there's been none so far," he told AAP.
Normally, a lot of fungicides would also be used in viticulture, but this year the harvest had been very quick and very clean.
There had been no mouse plagues, no locust plagues and animal health projects, such as drenching and combating fly-strike, had been relatively mild.
Mr Jackman said Elders had not quantified the expected underlying earnings loss for the six months ended March 31, 2013 because there had been a reasonably good pick-up in March.Shares in Elders were off half a cent to 12.5 cents at 11.35am.
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