This is generally a boring quarter for cotton-seed producer Delta and Pine Land (NYSE:DLP). So boring, in fact, that revenue in this quarter generally accounts for less than 5% of the year's total. Yet investors still decided to dump the stock on above-average volume in the wake of the earnings report.

Sales in this quiet period were down 44% from the year-ago level. The company was hurt both by competition in Australia and lower cotton acreage in Brazil. With basically nothing going on in North America to counterbalance this, the operating loss and net loss both widened. For what little comfort it might bring investors, the company did generate a smaller negative operating cash flow number relative to last year.

The big question for Delta right now is what this year's cotton acreage will look like. Sure, the company is guiding for flat acreage, and there is the possibility for some upside there. But there are always the uncertainties of weather, fertilizer prices, the federal farm bill(s), and the global outlook for cotton prices. There are also unknowns regarding the Monsanto (NYSE:MON) lawsuit, as well as the competition/cooperation dynamic with other companies like Syngenta (NYSE:SYT), DuPont (NYSE:DD), Bayer (NYSE:BAY), and so on.

In a nutshell, this is a small company focused on one agricultural segment, in a market largely dominated by big players. This stock has done almost nothing good since 1998, and I can understand why some long-term holders would be frustrated. Still, there's a reasonably good outlook for growth, and valuation doesn't seem all that bad. This could prove to be a difficult stock to own, and one that will try your patience, but I'm not sure now is exactly the time to be fleeing in panic.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).