U.S. table egg production in January was 565 million dozen, up 0.7 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

Table egg production has been higher since November 2011, although in January and February the number of hens in the table egg flock has been even with or slightly lower than 2011. The table egg flock numbered 284.2 million birds in January, marginally higher than in January 2011 but slightly lower than December 2011 numbers. The table egg flock is expected to continue about even with or slightly higher than 2011 for most of 2012, which is expected to result in a small increase in table egg production in 2012.

Table egg production is forecast at 1.635 billion dozen in the first quarter of 2012, 0.7 percent higher than 2011 numbers. Overall production for 2012 was revised downward to 6.62 billion dozen, which would be a small increase (0.4 percent) from 2011.

While table egg production was rising slightly in January, hatching egg production continued to be sharply lower, with production falling to 87 million dozen, down 4.8 percent from 2011 numbers. The declines in hatching egg production over the last seven months was the result of lower production of meat-type hatching eggs as production of egg-type hatching eggs has been higher, especially since the beginning of 2012. Hatching egg production during the first three quarters of 2012 is expected to be down from 2011 numbers, but it is expected to expand slightly as broiler production increases in the fourth quarter.

For more egg information and statistics, see www.wattagnet.com/marketdata.html.