Only five countries provided 55 percent of the world’s total egg production of nearly 64 million metric tons in 2011. Hen eggs, produced by a world total of about 6.5 billion egg-laying hens, comprise more than 90 percent of global egg production. Again in 2012, just a few countries will supply a majority of the world’s eggs.
If the egg production trend continues, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ projections show the world will produce a total of 70.4 million metric tons of eggs in 2015 and 89.9 million metric tons of eggs in 2030, the vast majority of which will come from developing countries.
China, the world’s top egg producer, reportedly produced 27.9 million metric tons of eggs in 2011, and currently holds about 45 percent of the world’s total production of eggs. The country will produce an estimated 28.3 million metric tons of eggs in 2012. Additionally, China’s projected 2 percent compound annual growth rate means the country will produce an estimated 34.2 million metric tons of eggs by 2020 and 39 million metric tons by 2030, based on calculations from FAO data.
Following China, the United States, India, Japan and Mexico round out the top five egg-producing countries.
A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report shows U.S. egg production in 2012 will be fractionally higher than 2011’s 7.66 billion dozen eggs produced. In 2012, this second-largest egg producer is expected to produce 7.68 billion dozen eggs, while the most recent projection for 2013 egg production shows a slight drop to about 7.5 billion dozen fueled by higher feed costs.
The majority of eggs produced are table eggs for consumption; in 2013, the U.S. is expected to produce approximately 6.6 billion dozen table eggs, an increase of less than 1 percent over 2011. While feed prices are expected to moderate, declines in egg prices and cut backs in the size of layer flocks will keep table-egg output from greater expansion. Production of hatching eggs in 2012 will also remain below levels in 2011 as broiler producers cut back on production.
As in many countries around the world, the majority of U.S. table eggs, 95 percent, according to a study released by the United Egg Producers, are produced in layer houses with conventional cage systems. In contrast, January 1 marked the end of a 12-year transitional period banning the use of these popular conventional cage systems in another major egg-producing region, the European Union.
EU egg production falls
With a smaller laying hen population as producers invest in new cage systems and convert production out of battery cages, egg production in the EU is forecast to be about 1 percent lower in 2012 than in 2011, at about 7.04 million metric tons. The region’s largest egg producers remain France and Spain, followed by Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
The third-largest egg-producing country, India, produces nearly 2.86 million metric tons of eggs annually, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Japan, the fourth largest producer, is thought to have seen a drop in egg production in 2011 and 2012, as the number of layers and layer farms in that country decreases. In 2011, Japan had 2,930 layer farms with nearly 137.4 million layers. However, this number will decrease slightly in 2012 to 2,810 layer farms with 135.5 million layers.
Egg production is expected to grow in some other egg producing countries in 2012, such as Brazil. The first quarter of 2012 marked the country’s fourth consecutive increase in egg production with growth of 1.4 percent, an increase of 8.2 percent over the first half of 2011. The Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics reported that Brazil’s production of eggs totaled 671.1 million dozen eggs in the first three months of 2012. Similarly, Russia has seen its egg production increase each year since 2008, from 38.1 billion eggs to a projected 41.9 billion eggs in 2012, according to Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolai Fyodorov.