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USDA DATA ON CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION

04/01/2019

Based on the importance of cage-free production, the USDA-AMS issues a monthly report on volumes and prices for the information of Industry stakeholders. There is some doubt as to the accuracy of the individual monthly flock numbers especially with the latest report that shows a 12.7 percent increase in the cage-free flock in March with negligible change since September 2018. The question is raised whether it would not be more desirable to post accurate quarterly data in place of unconvincing monthly figures denoting similar hen data for consecutive months.

EGG-NEWS summarizes and comments on data and trends in the monthly USDA Cage-Free Report, supplementing the information posted weekly in the EGG-NEWS Egg Weekly Price and Inventory Report.

The USDA Cage Free Report for the month of March 2019 released on April 1 st 2019 documented a 4.5 percent reduction in flock size for hens hens producing under the Certified Organic seal. In contrast the National cage-free flock increased by 5.3 million as compared to the values for October 2018 through January 2019 and an increase of 0.1 million in February. The respective numbers of hens in organic and cage-free flocks should reflect the realities of supply and demand in the market over successive quarters. Average flock production was reduced to 72.5 percent for both categories of non-caged hens (accepting USDA data) although there were evident differences in placement programs and hen age among months:-

Flock size '18 (million hens)

July

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Sept. through Feb. '19

March

Certified Organic

15.6

15.6

15.7

15.6

15.7

15.0

Cage-free hens

39.1

39.1

41.4

39.1

41.5

46.9

Total non-caged

54.7

54.7

57.1

54.7

57.2

61.9

Average weekly production cases, March 2019

Certified Organic

219,589 (230,279 Feb.)

Cage-free

685,492 (610,902 Feb.)

Total non-caged

905,081 (841,181 Feb.)

Average Wholesale Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.56/doz. Unchanged since Nov. '18

Range unchanged at:

$1.15 to $2.10/doz.

FOB Negotiated price, grade quality nest- run, loose

Average down 9.2 percent from February with wider spread

$1.33 to $1.70/doz. (Av. $1.47/doz.)

was $1.42 to $1.71 (Av. 1.62/doz.)

Average Advertised National Retail Price C-F, L, Brown

$2.63/doz. (was $2.73 Feb. 2019)

USDA 6-Region

High: NW

$2.77/doz. $2.86 (NE.)

 

Low: SW

$2.47/doz. $2.52 NW.

Kindly refer to weekly USDA wholesale and retail prices posted in the EGG-NEWS Egg Price and Inventory Report E-mailed each Friday. The previous Monthly Cage-Free Report is available under the STATISTICS Tab.