Egg industry statistics covering actual costs through June 2008 and projections for 2009 were formulated by Poultry Specialist-Emeritus Don Bell, University of California at Riverside.

Highlights include:

  1. The first of the month estimates of the number of U.S. table egg hens show an increase from 208 million in August to a peak of 291 million in December 2008. Thereafter hen numbers will decline to 287 million by June 2009.
  2. Projections of the UB Midwest Large-grade market quote show a high of 130 cents/dozen for November and December 2008 with a gradual decline from 118 cents/dozen in January to a low of 101 cents/dozen in March following the Easter period.
  3. The total hatch for the first six months of 2008 amounted to 121,788,000 pullets representing a 5.8 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2007.
  4. The 24-month accumulated hatch of pullets, which is closely correlated with future egg prices showed 2.8 and 2.7 percent increases respectively for May and June of 2008 over the corresponding months in 2007. The current accumulated hatch is greater than 2007 by approximately 12 million hens. Analyses covering the ten years from 1996 through 2006 indicated that for each one million additional chicks hatched in the 24-month period, the UB Midwest large egg price was depressed by 0.4 cents/dozen representing a projected decline of 5.0 cents/dozen.
  5. The projection of pullets transferred into layer houses for the first eleven months of 2008 will be 190.8 million or 4.7 percent, equivalent to 9.0 million hens more than the first eleven months of 2007.
  6. The proportion of the national flock which was molted over the first six months of 2008 declined by 2.9 percent from 2007 levels which averaged 24.7 percent.
  7. The corresponding percentage of hens slaughtered to date increased markedly to 37.1 percent representing a 29.6 percent increase over 2007.
  8. Eggs consigned to breakers or processed in-line increased to 32.7 percent for the first half of 2008, representing a 3.5 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2007.
  9. The cost of egg production has increased steadily over the first six months of 2007, increasing from 63.9 cents/dozen in January to 73.1 cents/dozen in July. These values represent double digit increases over the corresponding period in 2007 and range from 13.2 percent in January to 24.6 percent in July. For the first six months of 2008, feed costs averaged $249/ton representing a cost per dozen of 43.7 cents. Pullet depreciation averaged 3.23 cents/dozen reflecting an increase in feed costs and contributing to an average cost of 67.9 cents/dozen for the first six months of 2008. In July 2008, average egg price was 73.1 cents/dozen for the seven surveyed regions and ranged from 69.4 cents/dozen in the W.N. Central region to 80.5 cents/dozen in the West.

Don Bell can be contacted at Don.Bell@ucr.edu. Visit his web site.