According to the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol.64: No. 11) posted on March 13th Midwest-wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large increased by 16 percent after the past week which represented 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 Report documented a USDA Combined Region value of $0.56 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 $0.50 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the South Central Region, attained $0.59 per dozen. The current USDA Combined Price was approximately 70 cents per dozen below the three-year average. During the first Quarter of 2016 the average was inflated by the rise in prices attributed to the post-HPAI shortage of all eggs.
Hen numbers this week remained at a relatively stable but high level relative to demand attaining approximately 313.5 million in production. Hens in lay increased from 303 million in early December 2016. For the past week the number of hens increased by 0.1 million. The total egg-flock comprises 320.5 million including hens in molt and small flocks. Generic shell-egg stock increased by 1.5 percent demonstrating fluctuation in the ongoing imbalance between demand and production. Dried-egg inventory of 30.1 million pounds as of January 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 March 6th 2017 amounted to 3.084 million pounds, 2.4 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 March 13th was up by 1.5 percent this past week, compared to a 3.2 percent decline in inventory during the previous week. Three of the six regions showed decreases in inventory. The Midwest Region was up a substantial 8.7 percent compared to the previous week to 413,500 cases. This region was followed in decreasing order of stock level by the Southeast Region down 0.9 percent to 284,700 cases; the South Central Region decreased by 4.7 percent to 244,700 cases; the Southwest Region up by 4.0 percent to 184,300 cases, the Northeast Region down by 4.5 percent to 111,800 cases and the Northwest unchanged with 116.900 cases
The total USDA Six-Area stock of commodity eggs comprised 1,652,600 cases, of which 82.1 percent were shell eggs. The inventory of breaking stock was down 3.6 percent to 296,600 cases. The relatively small increase in the price of 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 up by a noteworthy 7.8 percent to 180,600 cases with organic stock comprising 33.3 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 14.6 percent, or 45 cents per dozen to $2.63 per dozen while USDA Certified Organic rose by 6.1 percent or 24 cents per dozen to $4.15 per dozen, widening the price differential to $1.52 per dozen (was $0.83 per dozen last week). 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 March 6th the number of hens held in other than conventional cages during February was unchanged for organic and increased 3.8 percent for cage-free flocks.:-
Total U.S. flock held for USDA Certified production = 14.1 million (was 13.5 million, October through January)
Total U.S. flock held for cage-free production = 24.4 million (was 23.5 million, October through January)
Total U.S. non-caged flock = 38.5 million (12.4 percent of a nominal 310 million flock but 19.3 percent of a nominal flock of 200 million held for shell-egg production)
For the week ending March 11th eggs processed under FSIS inspection decreased 3.0 percent from the previous week to a level of 1,490,677 cases. The proportion of eggs broken by in-line complexes reached 55.7 percent, an increase from 55.4 percent last week. During the corresponding week in 2016 in-line breakers processed 45.9 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 March 15th increased to a range of 22 to 30 cents per dozen. The price of checks increased to15 to 18 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.