U.S. table egg production is expected to increase slightly (0.5 percent) in 2012, reaching 6.64 billion dozen, up from 6.61 billion dozen in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Production increases are expected to occur in all four quarters, but most of the total increase is expected in the first half of 2012. The production growth is expected to come from small increases in the number of hens in the table egg flock, with relatively little change in the rate of eggs produced per bird. The number of birds in the table egg flock was down in four of the last six months of 2011, but the flock is expected to average above year-earlier levels through the first several months of 2012 as strong prices encourage production, according to the USDA's report. Higher egg production is also expected to be supported by higher prices for most livestock and poultry products.


Hatching egg production for 2012 is forecast at 1.04 billion dozen, down 1.7 percent from 2011. The decline in production of hatching eggs reflects the expected decline in broiler production. The reduction in production is expected to mirror changes in broiler output, with production down on a year-over-year basis in the first three quarters and increasing in the fourth quarter of 2012. 

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