Agriculture and pharmaceuticals company Bayer said its quarterly adjusted earnings rose by a better than expected 27.5% on strong gains at its seeds and pesticides business.

First quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), adjusted for one-off items, came in at €5.25 billion.

This was well above the average analyst estimate of €4.65 billion posted on the company's website.

The Crop Science division, which generates the bulk of its earnings during the first half of the year, saw adjusted EBITDA jump by half to €3.67 billion, beating a market consensus of €2.95 billion, more than off-setting weaker pharmaceutical earnings.

Prices of agricultural commodities like corn and soy have surged globally amid concern that Russia's attack on Ukraine will disrupt farming there as both countries are major grains exporters.

Bayer's chief executive Werner Baumann told shareholders at last month’s annual general meeting that favourable agricultural markets had helped the group to a very successful start to the year.

The group also confirmed its guidance for full-year results.