Australia’s largest listed bulk grain handler GrainCorp Ltd slashed its interim dividend amid a plunge in first-half profit, and warned it faces more challenges from unrelenting dry weather. The big dry in Queensland and northern NSW has slashed GrainCorp’s harvest and shrivelled its half year profit by almost two thirds. GrainCorp’s profit for the six months to March 31 was down 59.9 per cent to $36.1 million, compared with $90 million the previous corresponding period.Chief executive Mark Palmquist said earnings are significantly down due to dramatically lower crop production in eastern Australia, which is around 40 per cent below last year’s near record harvest.He warned farmers would continue to face tough conditions, with exports for the full year likely to be up to three quarters below last year’s volumes. Mr Palmquist said the company was in good health despite a dramatically reduced grain crop, adding the company lost $21 million when there was a similar sized grain crop 11 years ago.
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