The U.S. table egg laying flock in October was estimated at 288 million hens, 2.2 percent above 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.  

The number of hens in the table egg flock on a year-over-year basis was higher throughout the first 10 months of 2012. With higher hen numbers, the number of table eggs produced has increased. In October, table egg production was 574 million dozen, an increase of 2.2 percent from 2011, said the USDA. Table egg production on a year-over-year basis has been higher in every month so far in 2012. 

Overall table egg production in the first 10 months of 2012 was 5.5 billion dozen, an increase of 1.3 percent from the same period in 2011. The table egg flock and table egg production are expected to be at higher levels than in 2011 through the remainder of 2012. At the beginning of November, the number of birds in the table egg flock was 291 million, up 2.5 percent from 2011 numbers, and table egg production is expected to total 1.72 billion dozen in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 2 percent from 2011.

U.S. egg prices

Even with larger table egg production, wholesale prices for eggs have continued to be strong, according to the USDA. The fourth-quarter 2012 wholesale price for one dozen Grade A eggs in the New York market is expected to average $1.30 to $1.33, roughly the same as in 2011. At the beginning of December, wholesale prices for Grade A large eggs in the New York market were approximately $1.38 per dozen.

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Hatching egg production

Hatching egg production was lower than 2011 numbers throughout the first 10 months of 2012, according to the USDA report.  

With lower broiler production, the decline in hatching egg production has largely been due to significantly lower production of meat-type hatching eggs in every month compared with 2011. Over the first 10 months of 2012, production of meat-type hatching eggs was 4 percent lower than in 2011, while the production of egg-type hatching eggs was 1 percent higher. Decreased production of meat-type eggs is expected to continue into the first half of 2013 until broiler integrators begin to expand production.

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