Egg Products (January 9): Shell eggs broken totaled 167 million dozen during November 2005, up 7 percent from November a year ago but 5 percent below the revised 177 million broken last month. During calendar year 2005 through November, shell eggs broken totaled 1.89 billion dozen, up 7 percent from the 1.76 billion dozen broken in the comparable period in 2004. Total edible liquid from eggs broken in 2005 was 2.44 billion pounds, up 8 percent from 2004.

Chickens and Egg (Jan 23): U.S. commercial egg production totaled 6.70 billion table eggs, and 64 million egg-type hatching eggs. There were 291 million layers producing table-type eggs, and 2.74 million producing egg-type hatching eggs. Egg-type chicks hatched during December 2005 totaled 36.2 million, down 3 percent from December 2004. Eggs in incubators totaled 35.5 million on January 1, 2006 up 3 percent from a year ago. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 248,000 during December 2005, up 6 percent from December 2004.

Oil Crops Outlook (Jan 13): The 2005 annual summary of USDA’s Crop Production report concludes that soybean output this year totaled 3,086 million bushels. The data reflect a 43-million-bushel upward revision from the previous forecast, and is based on a final yield estimate of 43.3 bushels per acre on 71.4 million acres harvested. The 2005 soybean yield substantially exceeds the previous record-high of 42.2 bushels per acre established just last year. The cumulative domestic crush through November is up by a moderate 15 million bushels over last year to 442 million. Processors have obtained lower values for the meal extraction rate, which have encouraged them to use more soybeans to make up the difference. Yet, because of the lag in exports, soybean use for September-November 2005 summed to just 850 million bushels, down 92 million from the first quarter of 2004/05.

Given a lackluster pace to date and a normal seasonal decline for soybean exports, season-ending stocks are expected to remain unusually high. USDA forecasts 2005/06 ending stocks at 505 million bushels, which would be the largest carryover of the last 20 years. The last time that the soybean stocks-to-use ratio was nearly as high as the current projection (16 percent) was in 1994/95, when the U.S. farm price averaged $5.48 per bushel. The preliminary December national average of the soybean farm price was $5.71 per bushel, and daily values in some locations had kept rising toward $6 per bushel through the end of the month. This month’s forecast range for the 2005/06 national average price was raised from $5.00-$5.70 to $5.10-$5.80 per bushel.

Feed Outlook (Jan 17): Corn production for 2005/06 was raised 80 million bushels to 11,112 million, the second largest on record. This month-to-month increase stems from a 774,000-acre increase in harvested area (now estimated at 75.1 million acres) but a .5-bushel-per-acre decrease in yield (now estimated at 147.9 bushels per acre). Beginning stocks were raised fractionally and total supply is now projected at 13,236 million bushels.

Domestic use of corn was increased 125 million bushels this month to 8.96 billion bushels, up from 8.848 billion in 2004/05. All of the increase was in feed and residual use, pushed up by the strong use in the first quarter and declines in the other feed grains. Corn exports in 2005/06 were reduced 50 million bushels based on the slow pace of sales to date. However, total corn use was up because of larger expected feed and residual use. Total corn use is expected to be up 148 million bushels from 2004/05. The projected price range of corn is up 15 cents on the lower end to $1.75 per bushel, while the upper end is up 5 cents at $2.05.