Although egg prices are expected to drop from their current high levels, wholesale prices for 2007 are forecast to average between 84 and 90 cents per dozen, U.S. Department of Agriculture livestock analyst Shayle Shagam said at the department’s Agricultural Outlook Forum March 2.

This compares to average prices in 2006 of 71.8 cents per dozen. Shagam said that high feed prices will limit production increases this year, and exports are expected to be firm.

U.S. total egg production is forecast to increase less than 1% this year.

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First-half production is likely to be lower as growth in the table egg flock is slowing and reduced broiler production in the first half will result in lower hatching egg production. However, second-half production is expected to increase in response to higher egg prices. For the year, table egg production is expected to be up less than 1%, and hatching egg production fractionally higher than in 2006.

U.S. egg exports for 2007 are forecast to come in at 223 million dozen, up from 202.1 million 2006.