* Plans to raise prices in mid-single digit range
* Took share of U.S. corn, soybean market
* Not seeing insect resistance to Herculex product
New York (Sept 14/Reuters) - DuPont's Pioneer seed unit plans to raise prices in the mid-single-digit range next year as it takes U.S. corn and soybean market share from Monsanto Co and other rivals.
The price increase would be in line with a similar move the company undertook for the 2011 North American planting season and comes as corn prices sit near all-time highs.
Even as flooding, drought and other weather phenomena have hurt parts of the U.S. corn crop, farmer income has continued to rise, buoyed in part by the high corn prices.
That has only increased the appeal for Pioneer's genetically modified seeds, which help farmers fight insects and boost yields, among other benefits.
"In 2011, we met our expectations on price and at the same time delivered market share growth," Paul Schickler, Pioneer's president, said in an interview at Reuters offices in New York. "As we look to 2012, we would expect the same combination to occur."
Pioneer's seeds yielded a bigger share of the U.S. corn and soybean market in 2011, though exactly how much won't be known until final U.S. Department of Agriculture figures are released in January, Schickler said.
In 2010, Pioneer had 32 percent of the U.S. soybean seed market and 35 percent of the U.S. corn seed market.
Monsanto, one of Pioneer's largest rivals, has had problems recently with corn pests that appear to be growing resistant to the company's popular corn seed product that is genetically engineered to protect against insect damage.
Herculex, an insect-resistant product that Pioneer developed with Dow Chemical's DowAgroSciences unit, is so far working as designed, Schickler said.
"We have not seen evidence of insect resistance," he said.