Diversified agricultural business Elders has improved its half-year net profit by eight per cent to $41.4 million, helped by higher fertiliser and crop protection product sales.

Elders’ revenue lifted two per cent to $749.7 million in the six months to March 31, and the company will pay a nine cent, fully franked interim dividend – up from no dividend paid at the previous interim result.

Looking to the full-year result, Elders managing director Mark Allison said an easing in cattle prices in the second half due to higher international competition would affect earnings in the group’s Agency division, with expansion offsetting that fall.

Low rainfall across most of the country in April and May will also affect winter cropping conditions and is expected to result in lower demand for fertilisers and chemicals.

Mr Alison said retail earings would increase in the second half of 2017/18 with contributions from the recently acquired Titan Ag chemicals business.

Elders shares were up 24.5 cents, or three per cent to $8.345 at 1126 AEST.