Mosaic (MOS) revealed a 26% improvement in third-quarter profit on Thursday as stronger potash volumes helped to offset weak phosphate prices.

The Plymouth, Minn.-based maker of fertilizers and animal feed ingredients reported net earnings of $345 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $273 million, or 64 cents.

Excluding one-time items, Mosaic said it earned around 88 cents, matching average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three-month period was $2.24 billion, up from $2.19 billion, missing the Street’s view of $2.29 billion.

The increase was led by stronger potash and phosphate sales, with potash volumes growing to 1.8 million tonnes from 1.1 million a year ago. Mosaic anticipates selling 2.3 million to 2.6 million tonnes of potash in the current quarter.

Phosphate sales, however, fell 9% to $1.5 billion in the third quarter on softer prices of finished products and Mosaic sees flat phosphate prices in the current period.  

"As we emerge from the traditionally slow third fiscal quarter, we are seeing strong demand and improving sentiment in most of our geographies," said Mosaic CEO Jim Prokopanko.

Mosaic’s gross margin improved to $568 million, or 25% of sales, compared with $522 million, or 24% of sales last year.

Its shares ticked 1% higher to $59.29 in morning trade Thursday.

Follow Jennifer Booton on Twitter at @Jbooton