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UPDATE 1-Monsanto beats expectations as profit climbs

April 2 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co, the world's largest seed company, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday as its corn and soybean businesses expanded globally.

Monsanto, which specializes in developing genetically engineered crops that withstand herbicides and ward off insects, said it had earned $1.67 billion, or $3.15 a share, in the second quarter ended Feb. 28, up from $1.48 billion, or $2.74 a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting $3.07 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose to $5.8 billion from $5.5 billion, in line with analysts' expectations.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)