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Nov 13, 2015



Comments supplementing the production summary tables for the latest series reflecting September statistics and prices made available by the EIC on November 10th 2015 are tabulated together with comparison values from the October 9th posting on EGG-CITE.

EGG-CITE documents USDA data on weekly egg production and prices each week concurrent with the recovery from HPAI outbreaks which impacted flocks in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota, producing mainly for the egg-liquid segment of the Industry. During early September an isolated case of low-pathogenicity H5N2 AI was diagnosed in a backyard multi-species flock with 2,500 mallards. No further cases have been diagnosed and surveillance of southward migrating waterfowl has not yielded any H5 isolates.

As of July 17th 2015 the USDA-APHIS documented the loss of approximately 38.5 million hens and 3.5 million pullets in 46 cases on layer farms representing 12 percent of all hens in flocks over 30,000 birds and 6 percent of rearing pullets. The loss was disproportionate in the egg-breaking segment of the industry with an estimated 33 percent of the supply flock no longer in production, principally in large in-line breaking complexes. Decontamination has progressed and restoration of production has commenced. States with confirmed cases in large (over 300,000 hen) egg-producing flocks comprised Iowa (7 complexes); Nebraska (5) Minnesota (3) and South Dakota (1).

The USDA reports data for six regions, respectively comprising the Northeast, South East (Mid-Atlantic), South Central, Midwest, Northwest and California (NW and California combined in some tables)


The EIC elected to break down costs to 1st and 2nd cycles from May onwards. This has complicated comparisons with previous data which aggregated all egg production irrespective of cycle. There were no outstanding differences in variable costs for 1st and 2nd cycle flocks. Accordingly values have been provided in this report for the first cycle which represents 70 percent of all U.S. output.  

  • The USDA ex farm blended egg price in October 2015 at 123.6 cents per dozen, was 45.9 cents per dozen lower than in September 2015. Notwithstanding the drop, the relatively high value reflected the impact of flock depletions due to HPAI. The October 2015 value should be compared to 91.0 cents per dozen for the corresponding month in 2014 and 83.3 cents per dozen in 2013.
  • There was a 0.6 percent decrease in feed cost expressed as a component of the first cycle production cost per dozen over the 5-regions monitored by the USDA, attaining 33.3 cents per dozen in September compared to 33.5 cents per dozen in October. Year-to-date feed cost amounted to 34.6 cents per dozen for the first cycle. Taking both cycles into consideration, weighted average feed cost (70% first cycle) was calculated to be 34.1 cents per dozen in October. The average feed cost in 2014 was 43.2 cents per dozen. The average monthly feed cost during 2013 was considerably higher at 50.12 cents per dozen reflecting the drought-affected crop of 2012.
  • Combining data from the USDA and the EIC (formerly from the University of California) , producers recorded a positive margin of 62.3 cents per dozen at farm level for first cycle flocks in October 2015 compared to an equivalent value of 67.33 cents per dozen in May 2015 before the onset of mortality. Farm profit for the first ten months of 2015 amounted to a monthly average of 74.5 cents per dozen. For 2014, average ex-farm contribution was 33.9 cents per dozen with all months positive. During 2013, a monthly algebraic average of 15.3 cents per dozen was attained.
  • The simple average price of feed over the 5-regions decreased by 0.5 percent in October compared to September. The October 2015, EIC 5-Region value attained $214.14 per ton. The Southeast recorded the highest cost among regions at $249.96 per ton. The average figure includes ingredients plus milling ($10/ton) and delivery ($3/ton).  A 10.2 percent decrease in the price of soybean meal from $396 per ton in September to $356 per ton in October contributed to a lower feed cost. The reduction was offset by a 1.4 percent increase in the 5-region average cost of corn from $158 per ton in September to $160 per ton in October. There was a $65.20 per ton differential in corn price between the Midwest and the Southeast in October. Average feed cost during 2012 was $315.80 per ton compared to $300.80 for 2013.  Average feed cost per dozen during 2014 was 43.1 cents with an average cost of feed of $259.10 per ton. Feed price will continue to be the major factor driving production cost and hence margin. Each $10 per ton difference in feed cost represents 1.75 cents per dozen.
  • Average total nest-run production cost for both cycles in October 2015 for 6-regions was 61.57 cents per dozen.  Production costs during October ranged from 56.09 cents per dozen in the Midwest up to 77.01 cents per dozen in California which was also higher than the Midwest region by 20.90 cents per dozen. The differential in feed cost between the traditional high (West) and low-cost (Midwest) regions attained 15.0 cents per dozen in October.
  • Retail egg prices as determined by the Department of Commerce for September 2015 averaged 296.6 cents per dozen, up 100.4 cents per dozen from seasonally lower, pre-HPAI values in May 2015. Shelf prices as determined in June and July did not reflect mortality commencing in mid-April. A price rise commenced in July when the differential between wholesale and retail prices was no longer buffered by pre-HPAI inventory. Although mortality was initially confined mainly to in-line breaking complexes the total availability of eggs to meet both shell egg and liquid markets was constrained. The current situation in the supply chain for table eggs is influenced by prices for breaking stock. The decline during the past two months is in part due to imports of breaking-stock eggs now equivalent to the production of 6 million hens. This is reflected in the disparity between total combined demand for liquid and table eggs compared to production capacity which has been reduced by 10 to 12 percent. Previously the liquid and shell egg markets existed as separate entities with approximately 100 million and 200 million hens in each segment respectively. The price of shell eggs as driven by post-HPAI demand effectively merged all egg production into a single market. The retail values for commodity eggs at 257.0 cents per dozen in July, 294.3 cents per dozen in August and 296.6 cents per dozen in September 2015 should be compared with the averages of 201.9 cents per dozen in 2014 and 191.0 cents per dozen in 2013.
  • According to USDA-NASS data, the estimated complement of hens for flocks above 30,000, representing 80.9 percent of the U.S. total, amounted to 267.5 million hens on October 1st 2015 compared to the projection of 302.5 million hens published in January. The averages for 2014, 2013 and 2012 were 303.0, 289.1 and 285.3 million hens respectively. The advent of HPAI with unprecedented mortality has complicated all models projecting future flock sizes and prices. The EIC estimates a flock size of 287.4 million hens in December 2015 based on pullet chick placements.
  • The total in-molt and post-molt population of hens in the 5-Regions monitored by the USDA rose by 0.5 percent in September 2015 to 21.7 percent of the national flock compared to the average of 20.3 percent for the previous three months. It is possible that some Midwest producer who reduced stocking density to conform to California cage requirements may revert to 67 inches2 per hen using second-cycle flocks to satisfy demand at high prices to justify this strategy. This situation is expected to change as there will be an increased demand for pullets to replace over 38.5 million hens depleted in flocks producing table-egg and egg-liquid product and for the 3.5 million pullets lost to date from HPAI. This requirement will be over and above the 19 million pullets required each month to maintain a flock level of 305 million hens.
  • The inability of existing hatcheries to supply extra chicks over the short and intermediate term and the time-related biological restraints of rearing will dictate retention of a high proportion of hens through the second cycle as cage capacity will outstrip availability of replacements. USDA statistics show an encouraging increase of 1.2 million pullets hatched between August and September. It is hoped that the multipliers will increase the output of parent flocks using molting, leased housing and other improvisations to maximize output over the short term. The hatchery supply flock is only scheduled to increase from a level of 2.6 million hens in production in April to 2.9 million hens in November but projections show a decrease to 2.8 million in January and February of 2016.
  • Slaughter of hens under USDA-FSIS inspection attained 4.1 million in September corresponding to the August value of 3.7 million. In September flocks were retained to take advantage of higher prices. Regular mortality and alternative methods of flock disposal including landfills,  rendering and shipment of live hens to Canada from approved states, accounts for the majority of depletion amounting to an average of 12 to 13 million hens per month.  Again with longer cycles and additional molting the number of hens slaughtered should decline through the remainder of 2015.
  • Average rate of lay was almost unchanged from August attaining 77.4 percent in September as new pullets transferred in late July and early August achieved peak production.  Average production reflects the balance between placement of pullets, their ages and the rate of depletion of flocks or retention of molted hens for a second cycle. Average flock production will decline as weighted age advances with retention and more molting of older flocks.
  • According to USDA-FAS data, 306 thousand cases of shell eggs were exported in September 2015 representing 1.7 percent of total production.  North America (75.3 percent of exports, down from 83.4 percent in August) and East Asia (18.8 percent up from 12.9 percent), comprised the major importing regions.

Reports from Mexico confirm that HPAI continues to be efficiently suppressed applying vaccination, contributing to an adequate domestic supply, supplemented from the U.S. Mexico will ship limited quantities of breaking-stock eggs from four states declared by SENASICA to be free of END to the U.S. Both Canada and Mexico have imposed embargos on U.S. states with confirmed HPAI.

  • Exports of egg products in September 2015 represented 1.7 percent of U.S. output with North America (69.2 percent of exports, was 58.4 percent in August) Asia (25.3 percent, was 8.5 percent in August) and the EU (2 percent, was15.7 percent in August) comprising the three largest importing regions. Due to the shortage of breaking stock and idling of large in-line units, exports have been curtailed, although volume increased by 17.0 percent during August representing 1.7 percent of total U.S. output. The USDA is allowing importation of pasteurized liquid from the Netherlands and shell eggs from the EU, Mexico and Canada equivalent to the production of 6 million hens, to compensate for deficiencies in supply to bakeries and food service customers.
  • Collectively, exports of shell eggs and products in September 2015 represented the equivalent of approximately 7.7 million hens (was 6.7 million in July) in production during the month, attaining 604 thousand case-equivalents. This was a 10.6 percent decrease compared to 676 thousand case equivalents shipped in August 2015.



COSTS & REVENUE                                                                                         


Parameter                                                                                            SEPTEMBER 2015          OCTOBER 2015

5-Region Cost of Production ex farm (1st Cycle)                           61.77 c/doz                61.57 c/doz

                Low                                                                                          56.61c/doz (MW)      56.09c/doz  (MW)      

                High                                                                                         77.62 c/doz  (CA)       77.01 c/doz  (CA)         

Components of 6-Region 1stCycle Cost of Production:-

                                                                  SEPTEMBER 2015                                OCTOBER  2015.

                Feed                                              33.46c/doz                                          33.30 c/doz

                Pullet depreciation                     10.86 c/doz                                         10.83 c/doz

                Labor                                              4.00 c/doz                                           4.00 c/doz

                Housing                                          5.30 c/doz                                           5.30 c/doz

                Miscellaneous and other            8.15 c/doz (adjusted Sept ‘15)               7.85 c/doz


Ex Farm Contribution according to USDA values reflecting costs for the 1st Cycle in September:-

                                              123.60 cents per dozen1- 61.28 cents per dozen = 62.32 cents per dozen                                              (Sept. 169.50 cents per dozen – 61.77 cents per dozen =  107.73 cents per dozen.)

Note 1:  USDA Blended egg price



                                                                                                               SEPTEMBER 2015      OCTOBER 2015

USDA     ex-farm Price (Large)                                                                 169.5c/doz                123.6 c/doz               

                Warehouse/Dist. Center                                                          217.0c/doz                161.7c/doz

                Store delivered                                                                             222.5c/doz                167.2 c/doz


Dept. Commerce retail                                                                          294.3 c/doz  (Aug.)   296.6c/doz (Sept.)



5-Region Layer Feed Cost 

Layer Feed Cost (Average)                                                                   $215.20/ton                 $214.14/ton

                High                                                                                           $250.81/ton (SE.)        $249.96/ton (SE.)

                Low                                                                                           $187.24/ton (MW)      $184.45 /ton (MW)

               Differential                                                                            $  68.57/ton                  $  65.51/ton

                                                                                                                  (equivalent to 16.4 cents per dozen)


Pullet  Cost   (19 weeks)                                                                            $3.77                                $3.76


VOLUMES OF PRODUCTION                                                                           


Parameter                                                                                 SEPTEMBER  2015              OCTOBER  2015


Egg-strain eggs in incubators                                                 47.24 million  (Sept.)        49.91 million (Oct.)

Pullet chicks hatched                                                               23.43 million  (Aug.)         24.64 million (Sept)            

Pullets to be housed in 5 months                                         21.1* million   (Jan.)          22.20* million (Jan ‘16.)


Estimated National Flock, Total hens on 1st Month           272.9* million  (Aug)         274.4*million (Sept.)                              


Proportion of flock over 72 weeks                                                               21.7*%            ( 2015)

No. of hens under 72 weeks                                                                     214*million      (April 2015)                               


5-Region proportion of molted hens                                                            21.2%                                21.7%        

                High                                                                                          (CA.) 32.5%                        (CA)   30.0%         

                Low                                                                                             (NE)    3.0%                        (NE)      3.1%


Hens processed under FSIS inspection                                              3.7 million (Aug.)       4.1 million (Sept)    


Eggs produced                                                                                       6.57 billion (Aug)     6.40 billion  (Sept)


 Table-egg hens in flocks over 30,000 (97.2% of total U.S.)           264.8* million (Aug.)       267.5 *million(Sept) (May)

“Top-6”  States hen population (USDA)                                     141.9* million (Aug.)       144.0*million (Sept)


Proportion of U.S. Total by state, 2015*                                                                    

*(over 30,000 hen flocks)

                   STATE                            AUGUST 2015          SEPTEMBER  2015                                  Proportion by region (SEPT. 2015.)

               Iowa                           12.3%                 11.7%                                              MW      47.9%

               Ohio                           11.7%                 11.0%                                                NE       11.7%

               Indiana                        9.8%                  10.0%                                                SE        12.0%

               Pennsylvania              9.0%                    8.6%                                                SC        11.3%

               California                    4.9%                    4.6%                                                CA          4.8%                     

                Texas                           5.9%                     5.6%                                                NW        3.4%

                 (Values rounded to 0.1%)


Rate of Lay, weighted hen-week (USDA)                                                       77.6% (Aug.)      77.4% (Sept)                                                                                                                  


Projected USDA-ERS 2014 U.S. per capita annual consumption revised due to HPAI         248.5*eggs

*(14.5 egg decrease from 2014actual)                                                                                                                                                                     

*Subject to revision as a result of losses attributed to HPAI


Eggs broken under FSIS inspection (million cases) August 2015  5,589   September 2015  5,641                         

Cumulative proportion of total eggs                                                31.3%                   31.3%





Parameter                                                                                                               Quantity Exported 




Shell Eggs (thousand cases)                                                   August  2015    422      September 2015  306       


Products (thousand case equivalents)                                August 2015     254     September 2015  298          


Total       (thousand case equivalents)                                  August 2015      676     September 2015  604   


  *Representing 4.1 percent of National production in September 2015