The cost per dozen hatching eggs has increased by 54% in recent years due to increased feed costs, according to Michael Donohue, vice president of Agri Stats Inc., and may actually double in 2011 as birds that have been raised on higher priced grains come into production.
Addressing the audience at the 2011 Hatchery-Breeder Clinic, held in conjunction with the International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo, Donohue said that hatching egg costs could go even higher, since corn prices could reach $7.50 per bushel or more in 2011. Because of the near doubling in hatching egg production cost, Donohue said the work of people in hatcheries and on breeder farms has twice the value it did before, and managers should educate employees about the higher value of each egg and the impact they can have on the bottom line.
Labor costs also play a factor, making up 40% to 45% of hatching cost, according to Donohue. The industry's chicks per man hour keeps improving, but fully loaded labor cost per hour, which includes all benefit costs, has almost doubled in the last 23 years. As a final factor in production costs, hatcheries have experienced a 50% increase in energy costs over the last 12 years, said Donohue, and energy efficiency will continue to increase in importance for controlling hatchery costs.