Don Bell, Poultry Specialist
Emeritus, University California
at Riverside and now sponsored
by United Egg Producers, released the
latest U.S. egg industry statistics for
the first eight months of 2008.
1.To tal pullet chick hatch
through August 2008 was
317.8 million. This is 7. 7 million more than the cumulative hatch
for the comparison period in 2007. The
24-month-previous hatch, regarded as a
reliable indicator of future egg prices is
now up by 15. 7 million pullets. During
the 10-year period
1996 through 2006,
it was determined
that each additional million pullet
chicks hatched over
a two-year period
depressed the Urn-
Don Bell er-Barry Midwest
(U-B M) price by 0.4 cents per dozen.
This relationship does not necessarily hold for 2009 onwards since there
have been significant changes in the
U.S. economy, cost of production and
unit revenue. Generally more hens relate to higher production which in turn
may depress prices unless demand increases proportionately.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) projects a per capita consumption of 249.8 eggs in 2008 which is a
0.3% decline over 2007.
2.It is estimated that 207.9 million pullets will be transferred
from rearing to laying houses,
a 5% increase over last year.
3.Th e average flock size as of the
end of August was 280.5 million hens representing a 1.6%
decrease over 2007. Hen numbers are
expected to peak at 288.6 million in
January 2009 with a gradual decline to
285.4 million in July.
4.Eg g production through August 2008 attained 51 billion
which is 0.4% less than in
2007. Production has remained fairly
stable since 2006 despite changes in
5.Approximately 25% of the national flock had been molted
during the first eight months
of 2008 reflecting a 3% decline over
6.A total of 48.7 million hens
were processed in USDA-in-spected plants which are historically responsible for disposal of between 45% to 50% of depleted flocks.
A greater proportion of hens are now
processed as the total is now 27% more
than in 2007.
7.About 45.4 million cases were
broken for further processing,
representing a 2.8% increase
over the first eight months of 2007. The
USDA projects that 32.1% of U.S. production will be broken in 2008.
8.Th e U-B M large grade price
averaged 132.9 cents per dozen
through September 2008 compared to 108.6 cents per dozen in 2007.
Egg price is anticipated to increase to
➤ Average production
cost for the United
States was 68 cents
per dozen over the
first nine months
137.8 cents per dozen in November and
December 2008 and will then decline
during the beginning of 2009 to 110
cents per dozen by May.
Annualizing values for 2008 and comparing with 2006, there has been a 76%
increase in the U-B M price since 2006.
The U-B M breakers’ egg price for the
first nine months of 2008 averaged 87.7
cents or 66% of the nest run price.
Breaker egg prices have firmed by 29%
over the nine-month average for 2007.
9.Average production cost for the
United States was 68 cents per
dozen over the first nine months
of 2008 which compares with 51.5 cents
per dozen for calendar 2007.
In comparing the nine month periods,
there has been a 17.5% increase in production cost attributed mainly to an escalation in feed and fuel prices.
Since 2006, egg production costs
have increased by 55% with feed representing 63%. There was an appreciable
decline in production cost due to the
drop in ingredient prices for August and
Don Bell can be contacted at Don.Bell@
ucr.edu. His Web site is http://animals-cience.ucdavis.edu/Avian.