The revived global economic jitters sent Cargill profits tumbling to their lowest since at least the last financial crisis, with only one of the agribusiness giant's five divisions reporting a rise in earnings.
Greg Page, the Cargill chairman and chief executive, said the group was focused on "regaining earnings momentum" following a 66% decline to $236m in earnings in the June-to-August period.
Mr Page, terming the quarter "tough", attributed the lower profitability at Cargill, one of the world's biggest privately-held companies, to the "persistently high degree of uncertainty in the global economic environment".
This sentiment "injected turbulence into commodity markets and limited prudent trading opportunities", cutting profits in particular at the company's risk management and financial division.
"The prevailing 'risk-on, risk-off' dynamic in financial markets also caused capital to move in and out of commodities rapidly, which reinforced taking a disciplined approach to risk-taking," the US-based company, which has operations in 63 countries, said.
The profits decline appears a further dent to hopes, fostered particularly by fertilizer giants, that agribusiness groups would fare relatively well amid the latest economic jitters, protected by relatively firm farm prospects.
Rabobank last week, forecasting a decline in some fertilizer prices next year, cautioned of a "wait-and-see attitude" among farmers, the day after North American silos manufacturer Ag Growth International also warned of a grower stand-off, which it blamed on agricultural factors.
In fact, Cargill's agricultural services division, which covers sales of the likes of fertilizers and sprays to growers, was the only one of the group's five units to raise profits, as weather delays to sowings in North America pushed more farming activity into the quarter
The prospects of weaker-than-expected grain supplies and the "weakening world economy" sent profits lower in the origination and processing division, which handles operations such as the group's elevators, Brazilian cane operations and cotton shipments.