No significant increase in egg production is likely until the second half of 2008, according to USDA’s latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report. After averaging below a year ago through all of 2007, table-egg production in January was 544 million dozen, down less than 1 percent from a year earlier. With table-egg flock numbers still below a year earlier, table-egg production is forecast to be slightly lower in the first half of 2008, but rise in the second half of the year as farmers respond to high market prices over the last several months, says David Harvey, USDA agricultural economist.

During the past six months (September 2007 to February 2008), wholesale table egg prices in the New York market averaged approximately $1.45/dozen, 58 percent higher than in the same period the previous year.

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Wholesale table-egg prices (New York area) are forecast to average about $1.50 to $1.56/dozen in the first quarter of 2008, up 48 percent from the previous year. Since Easter fell in March this year and egg prices normally show a seasonal decline after Easter, prices in the second quarter are forecast to average $1.17 to $1.23/dozen. This is down considerably from the first quarter, but still 30 percent higher than the same quarter the previous year.  Prices are expected to gradually move downward in second-half 2008 as production rises.