After boosting layer numbers 12 percent in 2005 to lead all states in both a percentage basis and actual bird numbers, Iowa growth moderated last year, with layer numbers up six percent from the preceding year, according to USDA/NASS data.

Iowa wasn’t the only state that reined in growth in 2006. Just 10 states increased layer numbers last year, compared to 14 in 2005. U.S. layer numbers increased one percent last year, compared to no growth in 2005.

Leading the nation in percentage growth last year were Michigan and Illinois, both up nine percent, but in actual bird growth, Iowa still eclipsed them both, adding 2.8 million layers, compared to 383,000 growth in Illinois and 711,000 in Michigan. Other states posting growth last year were Utah and South Dakota, up five percent; Indiana and Texas, up four percent; West Virginia, up two percent; Ohio and North Carolina, up one percent.


The top five egg producing states either increased layer numbers or had no change: Iowa layer numbers were up six percent and Ohio up one percent as mentioned, Pennsylvania, no change in layer numbers, Indiana, up four percent; and California, no change, reversing a trend of decline of several years.

The biggest percentage declines in layer numbers last year were in Idaho, down 26 percent, and New Jersey, down 13 percent.

Looking at eggs per layer, the top five in 2006 were Montana, 305; Wyoming, 300; Massachusetts, 289; Colorado, 288; and New Jersey and New York, tied at 286. The U.S. average is 263. Iowa came in at 268 and Ohio at 265.