The forecast for U.S. total domestic egg production in 2013 has been lowered by 100 million dozen to 7.5 billion dozen, down 2 percent from the 2012 forecast, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. The lower production, brought on by higher feed costs, is expected to result in higher domestic prices and lower exports in 2013.

In the first half of 2012, table egg production was 3.3 billion dozen, up 1.1 percent from the first half of 2011. However, production of hatching eggs fell by 3.7 percent compared with 2011 numbers. The decrease in hatching egg production was chiefly the result of the decline in broiler chicks needed for growout, according to the USDA. Hatching egg production in the first half of 2012 was 520 million dozen. Production of table eggs is expected to be down slightly in the second half of 2012 and through 2013. Production of hatching eggs, especially those from meat-type birds, is expected to be below 2011 levels in the second half of 2012 as broiler chick production declines.

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Wholesale prices in the New York market for a dozen grade A large eggs in the second quarter averaged $0.98 per dozen, at the end of July. However, moving into August, prices have spiked to over $1.50 per dozen. Even with table egg production expected to be slightly higher in the second half of 2012, prices are expected to be stronger than in 2011 through the end of 2012. Wholesale prices in the New York market for a dozen Grade A large eggs are forecast to average $1.28–$1.32 for the third quarter of 2012 and average $1.31–$1.39 in the fourth quarter, according to the USDA's report.

For more information and statistics on U.S. eggs, see www.wattagnet.com/marketdata.html.