The Toro Co. last week reported net earnings of $60.3 million, or $1.88 per share, on net sales of $631.6 million for its fiscal second quarter ended April 29, a 24-percent earnings increase compared with net earnings of $45.7 million, or $1.34 per share, on net sales of $562.8 million in the comparable fiscal 2010 period.

For the first six months, Toro reported net earnings of $77.5 million, or $2.41 per share, on net sales of $1.01 billion. In the comparable fiscal 2010 period, the company posted net earnings of $56.6 million, or $1.65 per share, on net sales of $894.2 million.

“We are very pleased with our second-quarter performance as our execution serving the professional markets led to significant revenue and earnings growth, putting Toro on an early trajectory towards our Destination 2014 organic growth and profitability goals,” said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO.

Professional segment net sales for the second quarter totaled $418.3 million, up 19.7 percent from the prior-year period. Shipments of landscape maintenance equipment were higher on strength of new products, even with a slow start to spring that delayed some purchases, the company said. Other contributors to growth in the quarter included strong global sales for micro irrigation products on increased demand and added capacity, along with a rebound in the rental business. For the first six months, professional segment net sales were $676.6 million, up 20.3 percent from the comparable fiscal 2010 period.

Professional segment earnings for the second quarter totaled $85.6 million, up 26.6 percent from the prior-year period. For the first six months, professional segment earnings were $123.5 million, up 32.2 percent from the comparable fiscal 2010 period.

Accounts receivable at the end of the second quarter totaled $278.5 million, up 6.8 percent from the prior-year period, on a sales increase of 12.2 percent. Net inventories were $259.8 million, up 49 percent from last year’s second quarter.

“Economic trends in our markets remain positive; however, weather and commodities are proving to be more challenging this year,” said Hoffman. “While uncertain how the delayed start to spring will play out across our markets, we are encouraged by the success of our innovative new products and execution in the marketplace. Given our strong performance to date, we are increasing our full-year revenue and earnings outlook.”

The company now expects net earnings for fiscal 2011 to be about $3.60 per share on a revenue increase of about 10 to 12 percent.

Headquartered in Bloomington, Minn., The Toro Co. is a worldwide provider of turf and landscape maintenance equipment, and precision irrigation systems.