Egg Industry News


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, March 1st 2017

Mar 2, 2017



According to the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol.64: No. 9) posted on February 27th Midwest-wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large decreased by 13 percent this past week representing the lowest values in 2017. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


The latest USDA Egg Market News Reports released documented a USDA Combined Region value of $0.64 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week, and is compared to a trailing 16-month peak price of $2.20 per dozen in late November 2015.  The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $0.56 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the South Central Region, attained $0.67 per dozen. The current USDA Combined Price was approximately 60 cents per dozen below the three-year average. In early 2016 the average was inflated by the rise in prices attributed to the post-HPAI shortage of all eggs.

Hen numbers continue to rise relative to demand attaining approximately 313.3 million in production. Hens in lay increased from 303 million in early December 2016. For the past week the number of hens increased by 1.7 million. The total egg-flock comprises 320.4 million including hens in molt and small flocks. Generic shell-egg stock increased by 5.6 percent reflecting the imbalance between demand and production. Dried-egg inventory of 29.4 million pounds as of December 31st is extremely high, as is the National stock of frozen egg products at 36.9 million pounds on January 31st.   



Cold storage stocks in selected regions on February 20th 2017 amounted to 3.123 million pounds, 3.8 percent above the stock of 3.009 million pounds during the week of February 1st. 2017.

The latest monthly USDA Cold Storage Report released on February 23rd documented a total stock of 36.913 million pounds of frozen egg products on January 31st 2016. This was down 12.4 percent from January 31st 2015. Approximately 85 percent of inventory comprised the categories of “Whole and Mixed” (35.7 percent) and “Unclassified” (49.7 percent).

The national stock of generic shell eggs on February 27th was up a noteworthy 5.6 percent this past week, compared to a 2.1 percent increase in inventory during the previous week. Five of the six regions showed decreases in inventory. The Midwest Region was up 4.1 percent compared to the previous week to 390,200 cases. This region was followed in decreasing order of stock level by the Southeast Region down 1.5 percent to 302,900 cases; the South Central Region increased by 2.2 percent to 255,200 cases; the Southwest Region up by 2.2 percent to 175,200 cases, the Northeast Region up by 1.6 percent to 131,100 cases and the Northwest up by 1.3 percent to 125,000 cases

The total USDA Six-Area stock of commodity eggs comprised 1,678,700 cases, of which 82.1 percent were shell eggs. The inventory of breaking stock was up 8.6 percent to 299,200 cases. The relatively stable price for breaking stock this week reflects the availability of eggs from both mature and young flocks in relation to the demand for generic eggs.

Specialty egg inventory was down 2.0 percent to 174,800 cases with organic stock comprising 33.6 percent of inventory. Recent data suggests a fluctuating build in the stock of USDA Certified Organic product. This is attributed to an apparent trend by consumers to purchase less-expensive brown cage-free product over more costly organic eggs. During the past week the retail price of cage-free brown fell 14.2 percent, or 46 cents per dozen to $2.77 per dozen while USDA Certified Organic increased by 11.3 percent or 46 cents per dozen to $4.54 per dozen, with a price differential to $1.77 per dozen.  Large week-to-week fluctuations can be expected in the stock of specialty and organic eggs based on the small base of these categories.

According to the latest monthly USDA Cage-free Hen Report for February 6th the number of hens held in other than conventional cages during January was unchanged suggesting that the hen population is determined quarterly. The non-confined segments comprised:-

Total U.S. flock held for USDA Certified production = 14.1 million   (was 13.5 million, October & November 2016)

Total U.S. flock held for cage-free production            =  23.5 million    (was 17.0 million, October & November)

Total U.S. non-caged flock                                         = 37.6 million (12.5 percent of a nominal 300 million flock but 18.8 percent of a nominal flock of 200 million held for shell-egg production)                                                                                                                    

For the week ending March 1st eggs processed under FSIS inspection decreased 1.3 percent from the previous week to a level of 1,501,522 cases. The proportion of eggs broken by in-line complexes reached 56.0 percent, an decrease from 56.4 percent last week. During the corresponding week in 2016 in-line breakers processed 46.8 percent of eggs including imports, denoting the severe mortality affecting approximately eight large in-line complexes affected by HPAI in 2015. 

The price range for breaking stock delivered to Central plants for the week ended February 28th remained at a range of 22 to 24 cents per dozen. The price of checks remained at 11 to 13 cents per dozen representing a throw-away price well below the average cost of production for nest-run, estimated by the EIC at 60 cents per dozen for January 2016.



The USDA Egg Market News Reports released on Monday 27th February documented the changes in price for the major grades from the Midwest, for Central States Breaking Stock and Certified USDA Organic.  The following table lists the “most frequent” ranges of values as delivered to warehouses:-



Current Week

  Previous  Week

Extra Large

  50-53 cents per dozen

    58-61  Down 13%


  48-51 cents per dozen

    56-59  Down 12%


  40-43 cents per dozen

    46-49  Down 12%

Certified Organic EL

275-310 cents per dozen


Central States Breaking Stock

  22-24  cents per dozen



  11-13  cents per dozen




The February 27thNational 5-day rolling average FOB producer prices, for white shelled eggs, with prices in rounded cents per dozen for the past week were:-

                                   EL. $0.30:  L. $0.24: M. $0.27

The following advertised retail prices for the week ending February 24th, (compared with the previous week in parentheses) were posted by the AMS for dozen packs:

  • USDA Certified Organic, Brown, Large:            $4.54  ($4.08)
  • Cage-Free Brown, Large:                                    $2.77  ($3.23)
  • Omega-3 Enriched Specialty, White, Large:       $2.38  ($2.27)
  • Generic White, Large  Grade AA                        $1.11  ($0.88)
  • Generic White, Large  Grade A (Feature price)      $0.99  ($0.89)                                 

 Retail prices for generic white Large AA were 23 cents per dozen lower this past week, according to the USDA-AMS and contributed to the rise in inventory. In past months retailers have maintained disproportionately high prices at the shelf, taking advantage of low wholesale cost to boost margins. By this strategy, retailers have effectively depressed consumption thereby holding the industry to record-low price levels for generic eggs. 

(See the text, tables and figures in the review of production and prices comprising the report on USDA January 2017 data posted in the February 16th Edition of EGG-CITE now listed under the STATISTICS tab. The financial results posted by Cal-Maine Foods for the completed 2nd Quarter of Fiscal 2017 posted in the December 21st Edition can be retrieved through the SEARCH feature entering “Cal-Maine”

The USDA-AMS Shell Egg Demand Indicator for March 1st 2017 decreased numerically by 2.6 points from +3.5 in the last report to +0.9 with a 2.4 percent higher inventory calculated by the USDA-ERS as follows:-  


Productive flock

313,313,123 million hens

Average hen week production


Average egg production

251,903,751 million per day

Proportion to shell egg market

69.2 %

Total for in-shell consumption

484,915 cases per day

USDA Inventory

1,379,500 cases

26-week rolling average inventory

4.70 days

Actual inventory  on hand

                           4.66 days

Shell Egg Demand Indicator

+0.9 points (was +3.5 in the last report)




Prices for dried egg products (most frequent price with a range in $ per pound) posted February 24th were:-

Whole Egg






Spray-Dried White








The problem of a high inventory of dried egg is apparent from the 140 percent increase to 30.12 million lbs. on January 31st 2016 compared to January 31st 2015.  During the period January 4th through January 31st 2017, dried egg processed under USDA inspection amounted to 11.9 million lbs. (up from 10.1 million lbs. in December 2016), corresponding to approximately a quantity equivalent to three-months inventory.



The H5N8 HPAI situation is still deteriorating in Western and Central Europe involving 23 EU Nations. Infection with H5N6 in Asia is affecting both South Korea and Japan with both strains introduced by migratory birds and then transmitted to commercial free-range flocks. This should be a warning to U.S. producers. Possible introduction of AI must be considered during the first Quarter of 2017 necessitating enhanced and effective biosecurity. This is emphasized by the isolation of Eurasian strain H5N2 avian influenza virus from a hunter-killed mallard in Montana in early January. The USDA and USAPEEC have worked with counterparts in South Korea to ship eggs and products to compensate for losses due to the HPAI epornitic resulting in depletion of 28 million hens, exceeding the Nation’s flock mortality from a previous outbreak in 2014.