The latest compilation of flock statistics by the USDA and processed by Don Bell in association with Maro Ibarburu was released on February 1. Over the next few months responsibility for maintaining the database and the calculation and distribution of reports will be transferred from the University of California, Riverside to the National Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University.

Here are some highlights from the February report:

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  • Estimated egg price for 2010, Don Bell applying the California prediction model estimates a May UB Midwest Large-grade price of 97.8 cents per dozen as the lowest value during the coming year. All other months in 2010, including the actual value for January of 131 cents per dozen will be in the triple digits rising to 141.9 cents in November with a slight dip to 140.7 cents per dozen in December. Average egg price for the year will be 119.3 cents per dozen compared to 106.0 cents per dozen in 2009.  
  • Flock numbers will remain fairly constant with a seasonal decline during mid-summer. Flock levels during 2009 averaged 280.4 million hens. The projected U.S. table egg flock, less than 72 weeks of age (presumably first cycle) will average 209.5 million hens compared to 211.5 million for the first five months of 2009. The average first cycle hen population represents approximately 70% of the national flock.  
  • According to statistics released by USDA, in 2009 the industry produced 77,601 million eggs, approximately 1% more than in 2008.  
  • In 2009, average U.S. flock rate of lay increased to 75.8% compared to 75.0% in 2008.  
  • Pullet placement for the first 5 months of 2010 is estimated to attain a monthly average of 17.07 million based on the USDA prediction model. Placements should be fairly constant ranging from a low of 15.75 million in April to 18.05 million in February taking into account the size of parent flocks and applying appropriate hatchability and livability factors. The 2010 value is approximately 1.8% higher than the corresponding first 5 months of 2009.  
  • During 2009 shell eggs broken under Federal Inspection attained 5.539 million cases per month or 66.472 million cases for the year. This value is approximately 2.6% lower than in 2008 and represents 30.8% of all table eggs produced compared to 31.9% in 2008.  
  • In 2009 USDA ERS estimates per capita consumption at 248 eggs compared to 248.9 in 2008. Fortunately population growth is supporting the growth in total egg production despite the decline in unit production. It is noted that in the annual series extending from 2003, the highest per capita consumption was recorded in 2006 at 257.8 eggs or a reduction of 3.5% from the peak.  
  • The state average table egg price as estimated by USDA-NASS was 166.4 cents per dozen in 2009 compared to 198.7 cents per dozen in 2008. During the past year monthly retail egg prices ranged from a low of 150.1 cents per dozen in May to a high of 185.0 cents per dozen in June 2009. This value compares with the extraordinary post-Christmas peak of 217.5 cents per dozen in January 2008.  
  • For the first 11 months of 2009 combined export of shell eggs and products amounted to 2.91% of production apportioned between 1.14% shell eggs and 1.77% products. The case equivalent values for the two items were 2.248 million cases and 3.481 million cases respectively. The major importers of shell eggs were Canada−34% of 2.248 million cases in 2009; Hong Kong−34% and Mexico−4%. The major importers of egg products were Canada−22% of product shipped; Japan−19%; Germany−15%; Mexico−7% and Korea−3%.  
  • The estimated cost of production based on prevailing corn and soybean meal prices was 58.7 cents per dozen ex-farm in 2009 compared to 65.9 cents per dozen in 2008.  
  • The distribution of hens among the six leading production states in 2009 is shown in this table.