As New Zealand moves away from the use of conventional cages on layer farms, egg production in the country could decline by about 4.5%, one analyst estimated.

IBISWorld senior industry analyst Tom Youl said the ending of conventional cage use has resulted in a sharp decline in egg production in New Zealand. Youl estimates that egg production will drop to about 955.7 million eggs during 2019-2020 amid the transition to cage-free laying systems.

Producers were in a transition period in which conventional cages would be phased out by 2022 under the Code of Welfare for Layer Hens in New Zealand, which took effect in October 2018, reported NZ Herald. Other countries to have a nationwide code concerning egg production include South Africa and Canada.

Some egg producers opted to transition to cage-free operations, but others chose to instead exit the industry, rather than invest in new laying systems. As a result of some producers’ decision to stop production, New Zealand’s egg flock declined by about 14% in 2018-19.

Eggs had been in relatively high demand in New Zealand, but with the new production standards, the prices are rising, and retailers are passing along the added production costs on to consumers.

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