U.S. table egg production is expected to total 6.6 billion dozen in 2013, down fractionally from 2012 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

While 2013 is expected to have higher prices for many meat products and improving general economic conditions, egg producers are expected to face lower prices for the remainder of 2012. While the rate of lay is expected to very gradually increase, the decrease in production is expected to come from a cut in the size of the laying flock.

Hatching egg production is expected to total almost 1.1 billion dozen in 2013, a marginal increase after a decline in 2011 and 2012, according to the report. The expansion in hatching egg production is based on the forecast for higher broiler production starting at the end of 2012 and carrying through 2013.


U.S. egg production totaled 1.91 billion dozen in the first quarter of 2012, up slightly (1 percent) from the same time in 2011. The increase was due to greater production of table eggs at 1.65 billion dozen, up 1.7 percent from 2011 numbers. Production of hatching eggs totaled 258 million dozen, down 3 percent as the production of broiler-type eggs continue down significantly from 2011.

The average number of birds in the table egg flock during the first quarter of 2012 was slightly higher (up 0.7 percent) than in 2011 at 285 million birds. Table egg production for the rest of 2012 is expected to continue to be slightly higher than in 2011 during the second and third quarters and about even with 2011 numbers in the fourth quarter. Production of hatching eggs is expected to have the opposite pattern, with lower production through the first three quarters of 2012 and higher production in the fourth quarter as broiler processors react to the incentives of a generally better economy, higher prices and slightly lower grain prices.

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