Monsanto's ( MON) first-quarter profit nearly tripled, easily topping Wall Street targets, and the agricultural-products company lifted its forecast for the full year.

For the quarter ended Nov. 30, the St. Louis-based company earned $256 million, or 46 cents a share, up from $90 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a profit of 35 cents a share.

Sales rose to $2.1 billion from $1.54 billion the prior year, exceeding analysts' average estimate of $1.87 billion.

Monsanto said key drivers for the sales growth were higher sales of the Roundup herbicide in Brazil, Argentina and Europe, as well as stronger adoption of the company's seed and trait technologies in Brazil and Argentina.

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Looking ahead, Monsanto said it has seen strong early-season order patterns in the U.S. for its corn business. The company also touted its "most robust" research and development pipeline in company history.

For the year ending in August, Monsanto expects earnings of $2.50 to $2.60 a share, before special items. Previously, the company projected earnings of $2.20 to $2.40 a share.

The new guidance brings the company in line with analysts' average forecast for earnings per share of $2.59.

Shares of Monsanto were gaining $4.48, or 4%, to $115.95 in premarket trading Thursday.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.