Wisconsin Recognizes Crisis in Dairy Farms. A Message for Egg Producers?

In his State of the State Speech, the Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers stated that he would call a special session of the Legislature to develop programs to prevent bankruptcies and suicides among farmers in the state.  The session is intended to consider bills that would assist farmers and promote agricultural industries.  Evers faces opposition from a Republican-controlled Legislature although Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald commented “we are all looking for ways to do better when it comes to ag.”  He added “there have been a number of proposals by the Legislature, but I’m all ears on what the government has to offer.”  Governor Evers noted that a proposed bill would create a Wisconsin initiative for dairy exports to increase volume to 20 percent of the Nation’s milk supply by 2024.  The second bill would improve the University of Wisconsin extension services to farmers.  The Governor has proposed a new office of Rural Prosperity to promote agriculture income.


With respect to intended actions by the Wisconsin Legislature the future and prosperity of the state dairy industry is governed by simple economics.  The market for raw milk in the U.S. has declined by twenty percent over two decades.  Consolidation and economies of scale have benefitted larger farms and dairies allowing them to capture more of the current declining market placing smaller and hence less efficient family farms at a competitive disadvantage. 


We have seen similar trends in the egg industry. Prolonged periods of low prices and negative margins in 2019 suggest that family farms not affiliated to integrators by supplying off-line packing may not survive without solid local and niche markets.  Subsidies and programs that fly in the face of economics provide only temporary relief.  In contrast to the milk industry, egg consumption is increasing although at a glacial rate, despite the strenuous activities of the American Egg Board.  It is more than apparent that there will be a reduction in the number of producers in 2020 and profitability will only be restored with a substantial reduction in the numbers of producing hens.


The activities of the American Egg Board and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council are maintaining export markets for shell eggs and products, principally to our USMCA neighbors. In the case of shell eggs to Hong Kong there are obvious limits given international competition and freight rates.  Notwithstanding the relatively small volume of exports relative to production, this segment of our industry represents 8 to 11 million hens out of a flock of 325-330 birds in production.  Prospects of increasing exports are limited. Accordingly retention of existing markets and export volume are critical to achieving a break-even or profit situation.


Unlike the milk industry, egg producers are facing the prospect of considerable capital investment in converting from conventional cages to alternative systems to comply with the demands for enhanced welfare. Commitments to convert to cage-free sourcing by 2025 imposed by members of the Food Marketing Institute , National Restaurant Association, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants will not be fulfilled. 


Progress in transition from cage facilities, at a cost of $30 to $40 per hen, depending on housing and equipment, has attained a proportion of 32 percent of the population of hens producing eggs for the shell market. The rate of conversion and erection of new facilities has probably reached a plateau consistent with market demand, ultimately influencing price and margin. Taking a lesson from the dairy industry and also our history it would be imprudent to replace cages with aviaries or floor systems without reducing or stabilizing the population of hens on new or existing complexes.


Egg Industry News

Export of Shell Eggs and Products 2019.

USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing 2019 with the corresponding period in 2018:-





Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



+23.7 (+19.4%)

Value ($ million)



-14.4 (-10.9%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



-0.27 (-25.0%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



-1,100 (-3.5%)

Value ($ million)



-9.4 (-8.5%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



-432 (-12.4%)





Shell egg exports from the U.S. during 2019 increased by 19.4 percent in volume but declined 10.9 percent in total value compared to 2018. Unit value was lower by 25.0 percent or 27 cents per dozen for the comparison between 2018 and 2019. The top two importers, Hong Kong and Canada combined represented 69.7 percent of volume and 67.6 percent of total value.


Hong Kong was the leading importer of shell eggs in 2019, with 52.6 million dozen representing 36.1 percent of volume and 37.0 percent of the total value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs. Average unit value was $0.83 cents per dozen, above the average USDA benchmark price for nest-run during the third quarter.


Canada was the 2nd-ranked importer during 2019 with 49.0 million dozen representing 33.6 percent of volume and 30.6 percent of total value at $36.1 million with a unit value of $0.74 per dozen. Shell eggs shipped to Canada represent the difference between domestic demand and production, limited by their national controlled marketing system


Mexico was a distant third in rank during 2019 with 18.5 percent of volume and 15.8 percent of total value and with a unit value of $0.69 per dozen. Prospects for additional sales will depend on acceptance of washed eggs held under refrigeration for retail sale, announced in September 2018. For 2019 imports of shell eggs by Mexico increased by 289 percent and value by 251 percent compared to 2018. In December Mexico imported 1.8 million dozen, up 800 percent from December 2018.


The Caribbean Region represented 4.5 percent of export volume for 2019. This region was down 9.5 percent in volume and 36.8 percent in total value, an obvious decline compared with 2018. The unit value of shell eggs exports to the Caribbean averaged $1.35 per dozen in 2019 ($1.93 over entire 2018) which appears high compared with the average export realization, warranting validation of USDA data or an investigation of the price. It is most probable that a proportion of shell eggs enumerated may have been either fertile hatching eggs or enriched specialty eggs.


The Middle East Region imported 6.0 million dozen during 2019 valued at $4.8 million with a unit price of $0.88 per dozen. Volume and value were respectively lower by 14.3 percent and 17.1 percent compared to 2018. Southern E.U. nations in addition to India and Ukraine have a transport advantage over the U.S in this market.



The total volume of exported egg products during 2019 decreased by 3.5 percent and total value was lower by 8.5 percent compared to 2018. Unit value decreased by 12.4 percent to $3,042 per ton from $3,474 obtained in 2018. This decline reflected the relationship between World supply and demand with Ukraine and India as significant exporters.


During 2019, 1st-ranked Japan represented 26.9 percent of the total U.S. export volume with 8,855 metric tons, a decrease of 14.5 percent compared with 2018. The high unit value of $3,896 per metric ton reflects the product mix including yolks.


Mexico was the second ranked importer in 2019 receiving 6,397 metric tons comprising 19.4 percent of volume and 13.8 percent of value exported with a unit price of $2,157 per metric ton


Canada represented a close 3rd in rank among importers purchasing 5,358 m. tons comprising 19.3 percent of volume and 12.2 percent of value ($12.3 million) exported with a unit price of $1,935 per metric ton. During 2019 Canada increased volume by 19.8 percent but value fell by 0.7 percent compared to 2018.



Successful conclusion of negotiations to replace NAFTA led to the trilateral USMCA, announced on September 30th 2018. The since-modified agreement will have to be ratified by the Parliament of Canada 17 months after after signing the basic trade pact. Exports of shell eggs and egg products to our neighbors were valued at $74.7 million for 2017, $89.7 million for 2018 and $80.8 million in 2019.


Prospects for long-term exports of shell eggs will be limited by the willingness of importers to accept the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principle of regionalization in the event of exotic Newcastle disease or isolation of either H5 or H7 avian influenza, irrespective of pathogenicity. Most importing nations are now applying regionalization and permitting imports on a county or state-exclusion basis following H5 or H7 AI infection.


The twenty one -month ongoing series of incident cases of END involving four small commercial units and 473 backyard flocks comprising a high proportion of game fowl (fighting cocks) is not yet over. Extension of the infection to four commercial farms in Southern California in late 2018 did not impact exports since importers are complying with the OIE principle of regionalization.


Generally pasteurized egg products should not be subject to any embargo imposed following reports of AI or Newcastle disease.


Egg Monthly

Review of January 2020 Egg Production Costs and Statistics.

  • January 2020 USDA ex-farm blended nest-run benchmark price was 52.9 cents per dozen, 34.7 percent lower than in December 2019 at 81.0 cents per dozen. Falling prices during January are consistent with seasonal purchase trends but the reality in 2020 was accentuated by oversupply.
  • January 2020 USDA average nest-run production cost was 0.9 cent per dozen higher than in December 2019 at 60.8 cents per dozen.
  • January 2020 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a negative value of 7.9 cents per dozen compared to a positive margin of 21.1 cents per dozen in December 2019.
  • December national flock ( over 30,000 hens/farm) was up 1.4 million hens or 0.4 percent to 325.1 million.
  • December pullet chick hatch was down 2.5 percent from November to 23.4 million.
  • December exports of shell eggs and products were down 3.0 percent from November to 772,000 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 10.4 million hens.



Summary tables for the latest USDA January 2020 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on February 11th 2020 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and reviewed in comparison with values from the previous January 14th 2019 posting reflecting January 2020 cost and production data.


Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, February 13th 2020.

  • Hen numbers in production up 0.7 million to 336.8 million .
  • Shell inventory up by 2.4 percent after a 1.6 percent decrease last week reflecting softening demand and increased production.
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large up 1.9 percent to an average of 107.5 and 105.5 cents per dozen. Mediums down 1.3 percent to 72.5 cents per dozen. The market increased last week but should stabilize or fall until the Easter surge unless demand falls off with a rise in inventory.
  • Price of breaking stock was unchanged at 25.0 cents per dozen on average. Checks were unchanged at 13.0 cents per dozen lagging shell-egg prices. Both categories are still substantially below the USDA January 2020 benchmark nest-run production cost. Of 60.8ncents per dozen.



According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on February 10th 2020 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large as delivered to DCs were up 1.9 percent to averages of 105.5 and 103.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were down 1.3 percent to 72.5 cents per dozen reflecting an imbalance in sizes influenced by young flocks. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 5-Region blended nest-run cost of 60.8 cents per dozen in January 2020, (excluding provisions for packing and transport). The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The February 10th 2020 USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 67: No. 06) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.13 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending February 3rd. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.04 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.19 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 18 cents per dozen below the three-year average of $1.32 per dozen and also 18 cents per dozen below the price during the corresponding week in 2019.


COMMODITY REPORT: February 7th 2020.

Corn and soybean prices both advanced this past week. Corn was up 0.3 percent and soybeans up 1.1 percent after a 3.2 percent retreat the previous week. Increases in price were expected after signing Phase-One of the trade agreement with China and ratification of USMCA by Congress. Prospects for commodity exports to China are moderated by the coronavirus outbreak.


Uncertainties still include:-

· The extent and timing of soybean purchases by China in 2020. The U.S and China have now concluded the Phase-1 agreement incorporating U.S. tariff rescission, promised purchases of agricultural commodities, concessions on some structural issues by China and enforcement provisions

· Exports of soybeans to China have resumed with 7.7 percent of projected shipments for 2019/2020 consigned during October and November. Notwithstanding the soybean exports, markets apparently do not express the same optimism as the White House.

· Fallout from uncertainty regarding the Hunan coronavirus epidemic in Asia.

Questions still exist:-

· Traders are reviewing projected ending stocks and taking into account the relative sizes of both corn and soybean harvests in 2019. The volume of exports of soybeans to China is still uncertain.

· Brexit is now a certainty after the Conservative Party plan was approved by the House of Commons with a legal departure on January 31 st 2020 and a final customs break at the end of January 2021.

· A U.S. trade agreement with the U.K. should be concluded in 2020 but trade with the U.S. will be conditioned by commitments to the E.U. by the departing nation. A bilateral agreement appears in jeopardy over disagreements over the use of Huawei communications equipment by the U.K.

· The relationship with the E.U. is tenuous especially with the threat of retaliatory tariffs by the U.S. on food products from France and auto imports from Germany.

Compared with the January 31st 2020 close, the CME quotation for March corn posted at close of trading on February 7th 2020 was up 1 cent per bushel to 383 cents. Soybeans, expected to be the beneficiary of the Phase-One agreement were up10 cents per bushel to 883 cents after losing 56 cents in the preceding two weeks.

For the consecutive years 2017 through 2019 the U.S. supplied 34.4 percent of soybean requirements for China amounting to 95.5 million metric tons. This was followed by a decline to 16.9 percent of 88.5 million metric tons in 2018 and 16.6 percent of 88.0 million metric tons in 2019.

China placed orders for 1 million metric tons of soybeans from Brazil during the first week of February 2020. A total of 20.5 million metric tons has been ordered for delivery through May 2020. This quantity is equivalent to 754 million bushels or 42 percent of the projected U.S. export of soybeans in 2020 included in the January 2020 WASDE. The purchases by China from Brazil are attributed to competitive prices compared to the U.S.

The following quotations were posted by the CME at close of trading on February 7th 2020 compared with values for January 31 st 2020 in parentheses reflecting specified months for delivery.



Corn (cents per bushel)

March 383 (382)

May 388 (387)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

March 883 (873)

May 896 (887)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

March 290 (291)

May 295 (296)

Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal over five trading days this past week were:-


Corn: March quotation up 1 cent per bushel            (+03 percent)

Soybeans: March quotation up 10 cents per Bushel (+1.1 percent)

Soybean Meal: March quotation down $1 per ton     (-0.3 percent)

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

· For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.44 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


Subscribers are referred to the January 10th WASDE #596 under the STATISTICS tab.

Prices of commodities are influenced by projections of ending stocks from the 2019 harvest, 2020 exports and domestic use.

Two tranches of support funding were advanced in 2018 amounting to $12 billion as "short-term" compensation for disruption in trade as Market Facilitation Payments (MFP).

On July 25th the USDA announced an additional $16 million MFP package to support agriculture with funds to be distributed in three tranches. Funds were distributed based on the higher of 50 percent of the producer's calculated revenue or $15 per acre, provided a cover crop was planted.

The second MFP payment in November 2019 was $3.6 billion. The third payment, of $3.6 billion, was disbursed during the first week of February 2020.

Regulations framed in terms of the Additional Supplementation Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 enacted in June will determine eligibility. One million applications were received for the initial round in 2018 with 420,000 applications since July 2019.

Additional request are being made by industry groups for 2020 MFP payments and will probably be justified by either delayed or ultimately lower imports by China than previously announced by the White House in terms of the Phase-1 Agreement.


Position Opportunity, Poultry Management Systems

Poultry Management Systems Inc, located in Lowell, MI. has an open position for a Field Service and Technical Sales Engineer for the states west of the Rockies in both the U.S. and Canada.


The appointee will be responsible for implementation, installation, application, and services for electrical PLC and computer control systems in the field.


Candidates will be located west of the Rockies and the position requires travel to all states in the region.


Qualified candidates should submit resumes to <hr@pmsi.cc>.


Modifications to the UEP Welfare Standards for 2020

In a January 23rd release UEP advised producers of the following changes to standards and procedures for 2020:-

• Cage-free layers are required to have an allowance of six linear inches of perch space per hen.

• Farms are required to have a written policy for handling loose hens.

• All employees in contact with flocks should be trained in welfare with documentation to that effect.

• Program Participants should have an established procedure to report abuse.

• Managers should be able to inform workers in contact with flocks concerning company's zero-tolerance policy for willful acts of abuse and report abuse.

• Program Participants must designate a responsible manager to monitor flock welfare.

• An in-Company assessment of the welfare program including housing, equipment, flocks, personnel and procedures is required annually.


Anne Alonzo To Resign as CEO of the American Egg Board

The president and CEO of The American Egg Board, Anne L. Alonzo will resign effective mid-April 2020.  She will join an agribusiness company and will be based in Washington, DC. Anne is a lawyer by profession, earned an MBA and acquired experience as an administrator in the USDA-AMS before her present appointment. As an exceptionally incisive and effective manager she turned around the AEB at a time that it was facing scrutiny and criticism. In four years she appointed competent subordinates and enhanced the image of the industry through her contacts and outreach. 


 Jeff Hardin, chair of the AEB praised Anne for substantially transforming and strengthening the AEB.  He expressed his gratitude for her dedication, contributions and friendship.


Ms. Alonzo will remain with AEB to assist in the transition to new management and will contribute to the upcoming Annual Board meeting and the White House Easter Egg Roll.


Anne will be a hard act to follow.


Dr. Mickey Rubin Discusses Nutrition in Early Childhood Development

Dr. Mickey Rubin, Executive Director of the AEB Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) participated in a recent discussion on a Phil Lempert Lost in the Supermarket podcast.


Dr. Rubin covered the first 1,000 days of the life of children emphasizing the need for an adequate intake of choline and lutein, both present in eggs.


In addition to his scientific responsibilities with the AEB-ENC Dr. Rubin is an accomplished and personable speaker able to translate complexities relating to metabolism into concepts that are easily understood by consumers. This benefits our Industry.



Lucky's Market Identifies Buyers for Twenty-Four Locations

Following the announcement on January 21st that Lucky's Market aimed to shut 32 of 39 stores and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the Company has successfully found buyers for 24 stores. The stores in Florida will be acquired by Aldi and Publix.  Other buyers will take over Lucky's stores in the Midwest and Colorado.


 Given the Chapter 11 status of Lucky's, the purchase and lease agreements will be subject to approval of a court to ensure that creditors' interests are satisfied.  The demise of Lucky followed the divestiture by the Kroger Company from the chain following the initial investment during mid-2016. 


The recent agreements secure the tenure of employees and will extend the availability of retail sales to existing customers.  It is hope that the acquiring chains benefit from their investments.


Shipping Rates Fall Due to Coronavirus

The Baltic Dry index fell on Monday February 3rd to its lowest level in four years due in part to disruption in trade with China. 


Coronavirus caused the Central government to extend the Lunar New Year holiday and ports in China, if operating, are functioning at low capacity.  The sharp fall in demand for shipping especially for commodities is attributed to disturbances in the transport system denoting the interconnectivity of trade among nations. 


Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award at IPPE

Sara Cloft was the recipient of the 2020 Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award presented during the IPPE.  Her paper published in June 2019 was entitled Effects of Dietary Amino Acid Density and Feed Allocation During the Starter Period on 41 Day of Age Growth Performance and Processing Characteristics of Broiler Chickens.


Ms. Cloft earned her baccalaureate degree at Michigan State University and is pursuing post -graduate studies at Auburn University under the mentorship of Dr. William Dozier III.  In commenting on the award, Dr. Kayla Price, Poultry Technical Manager for Alltech Canada stated, “innovation is the core of our business therefore Alltech is proud to support students and the advancements they are making in the poultry industry”.


Water Bath Heating Used to Decontaminate Shells in Australia

In previous months Australia has recorded cases of egg-borne infection with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) and Salmonella Typhimurium (ST). The former pathogen, a Group-D serotype, is transmitted vertically to eggs by the trans-ovarial and trans-oviductal routes while non-Group D serotypes are associated with contamination of the shell during oviposition.


Research conducted in Australia demonstrated that low temperature water-bath immersion for ten minutes at 135F removes surface contamination. Although this is an effective procedure as confirmed by laboratory-scale studies, commercial application will be relatively expensive.  The approach is similar to the patented U.S. Davidson immersion process for pasteurizing eggs contaminated with internal SE.


Experience has shown that water-bath immersion is relatively expensive with respect to capital cost and the complexity of temperature control and recording systems. Batch processing is generally labor intensive and is associated with limitations on throughput.


In the U.S. shell eggs are subjected to a continuous washing process with an initial passage through a washer circulating a detergent sanitizer solution containing 100 to 150 ppm chlorine at a pH of 10 to 12 units. Commercial washers are operated over a range of 115F to 125F followed by a rinse at 130F to 140F, maintaining a 15F higher temperature in rinse water compared to the wash solution. Commercial packing in U.S. in-line plants approximates 400 to 600 cases of 30-dozen eggs per hour. The incorporation of washing in U.S. plants together with electronic crack detection to reject eggs with defective shells has eliminated egg-borne ST infection from product derived from plants operating under USDA inspection and SQF compliance.


The research and methodology for the immersion process was developed in response for a need to decontaminate shell eggs to be used in recipes calling for raw eggs.  The low-temperature process although removing ST will not inactivate SE within an egg and consumers in Australia will still be at risk. This especially the case in that Nation since a growing proportion of “chooks” producing table eggs are held on range.


If producers in Australia wish to market eggs with safety, in-shell pasteurization using a microwave system is recommended. For commercial food preparation and for recipes calling for liquid egg or albumen, pasteurized product should be used. 


SE Outbreak in France

Public health authorities in France are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis.  The vehicle is believed to be organic eggs imported from Italy.  At the present time, there are no details on the number of cases or the consequences or severity of infections.


It is presumed that following an E.U. Rapid Alert, the implicated eggs were traced back to the producer, Olivero Claudio, presumably by the country and farm code imprinted on all E.U eggs. The source farm is located in Savigliano in the Cuneo area of Italy. 


In addition to supplying organic shell eggs, the company manufactures pasteurized egg products and a zabaglione confection.  The Ministry of Health in Italy has ordered a recall of eggs produced by the company effective January 22nd including four, six and loose-packed eggs from the Monasterolo di Savigliano plant.


Arizona to Transition to Cage Free Status

Rep. Timothy Dunn has introduced House Bill 2724 into the Arizona Legislature. If enacted, the bill would eliminate conventional cages requiring alternatives, including barns and aviary systems.


The bill states: “From and after December 31, 2020, a farm owner or operator in Arizona may not knowingly confine an egg-laying hen in an enclosure with less than one square foot of usable floor space; From and after December 31, 2024, a farm owner or operator in Arizona may not knowingly confine an egg-laying hen in an enclosure that is not a cage-free housing system with less than one square foot of usable floor space per hen in multi-tiered aviaries, partially slatted cage-free housing systems; From and after December 31, 2020, regardless of where produced, a business owner or operator, may not knowingly engage in the sale of, or transport for sale, in Arizona either shell eggs that are confined in a manner that conflicts with the standards required in Arizona and egg products”.

Arizona Legislature Building


Evaluating Contribution of Michael Foods to Post Holdings

On February 6th Post Holdings (POST) released results for Q1 FY 2020, ending December 31st 2019. For the period Post Holdings earned $99 million on revenue of $1,457 million. Comparable figures for Q1 FY 2019 were earnings of $126 million on revenue of $1,411 million.


The company operates Michael Foods with financial data incorporated into the Refrigerated Retail segment that includes cheese and sausage along with Bob Evans side dishes and other related foods. This segment generated revenue of $249 in the quarter representing 17.2 percent of Company sales. The segment attained a profit of $26 million or 11.5 percent of the combined operating segments.


The quarterly report includes the following comments relating to the Refrigerated Retail segment:-


For the first quarter, net sales were $249.9 million, a decrease of 4.5%, or $11.7 million, compared to the prior year period, with volumes declining 7.0%. Side dish volumes declined 5.2%, driven by lower breakfast sides volume, partially offset by higher Bob Evans branded sides which grew 5.4%. Egg product sales decreased 19.3% due to losses in branded egg product volume and lower average net selling prices resulting from lower market-based egg prices. Volume information for additional products is disclosed in a table presented later in this release. Segment profit was $26.0 million, a decrease of 14.8%, or $4.5 million, compared to the prior year period due to lower volume, higher raw material costs (particularly in cheese), higher third party consulting costs and increased integration costs. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $43.8 million, a decrease of 8.8%, or $4.2 million, compared to the prior year period .


Restaurant Brands International Reports on Q4 and FY 2019

In a press release dated February 10th Restaurant Brands International (QSR) announced results for the 4th Quarter and FY 2019 ending December 31st 2019.

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS)

4th Quarter Ending

Dec. 31st 2019

Dec. 31st 2019

Difference (%)

Sales: 1




Gross profit, Company stores:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin, Company stores: (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets 2




Market Capitalization


  1. Revenue was obtained in the proportion of 42.4 percent from Company stores in 2019; 44.2 percent 2018.

2. In 2019 Goodwill and intangibles represented 72.5 percent of total assets; 79.2 percent in 2018.

For FY 2019 QSR posted $468 million net earnings on sales of $5.60 billion. This compares with FY 2018 net earnings of $532 million on sales of $5.36 billion

Consolidated system-wide sales growth in FY 2019 attained 9.9 percent (U.S. 5.2 percent)

QSR either operates of franchises 4,937 Tim Horton's, 18,385 Burger King and 3,316 stores.

The Q4 performance of operating segments was:-

Tim Horton's posted an EBITDA of $297 million on sales of $872 million.

Burger King posted an EBITDA of $266 million on sales of $462 million.

Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen posted an EBITDA of $59 million on sales of $145 million.

52-Week Range in Share Price: $60.58 to $79.46. 50-day moving average $63.47

Market Close Monday 9th pre-release $65.62 Close Tuesday post-release $65.62

Forward P/E 22.3 PEG Ratio 1.13

In commenting on results Jose Cil, CEO of QSR commented, "We have three iconic restaurant brands that are together growing rapidly around the world. Last year, we shared a long-term aspiration to build the most-loved restaurant brands in the world and have more than 40,000 restaurants open within 8-10 years. I'm proud that our 2019 results have us solidly on track."


"Burger King delivered its strongest year of restaurant growth in the last two decades. Popeyes launched an iconic Chicken Sandwich that has proven to be a game changer for the brand in every way. At Tim Horton's, our performance did not reflect the incredible power of our brand and it is clear that we have a large opportunity to refocus on our founding values and what has made us famous with our guests over the years, which will be the basis for our plan in 2020."


AccuPrinter to the Rescue

Recently a large egg producer received an order for 15 containers of tray-packed eggs for a Middle East nation. To conform to the import requirements it was necessary to imprint each egg with a plant code and dates of packing and expiry.


Diversified Agriculture, agents for the AccuPrinter responded to an urgent request to help with the printing specification. Within two days they delivered six AccuPrinters to the plant to process the order    The flexibility of the AccuPrinter allowed the packer to imprint eggs and complete the order generating the prospect of future sales.


The AccuPrinter allows packers to imprint eggs with any combination of a logo or up to three lines of text, achieving a highly legible appearance on the large-end of an egg, superior to any other jet printer. The design of the imprint is selected using a hand-held pad within minutes and is transmitted to the AccuPrinter using Bluetooth® connectivity. The AccuPrinter is compatible with Diamond, Moba and Staalkat installations and operates efficiently up to maximum packing rate.


Details for the AccuPrinter can be downloaded using this link:

PDF Presentation


Shell Egg Academy

Dr. Darrin Karcher has circulated a reminder concerning the 2020 Shell Egg Academy to be presented April 20th to 23rd  in Lafayette, Indiana.

Dr. Karcher is an Assistant Professor of Animal Science at Purdue University. HeeHeHH has arranged an instructive program of value to participants in the egg production industry. The first course will involve live-hen production, held on Monday, April 20th and Tuesday, April 21st. The second course on egg processing and food safety will take place on April 21st and 23rd. The respective fees for the courses are $500 and $750. Examinations will be held at the end of each course and students will receive a competency certificate.


The Shell Egg Academy is sponsored by Moba Americas and Sanovo Technology. For additional information on the program, contact Dr. Karcher at <dkarcher@purdue.edu>. Details relating to registration and hotel reservations are available at <info@empoweredeventsllc.com>.

Dr. Darrel Karcher Purdue University


Free-Range Poultry Flocks in Holland to be Confined

The Ministry of Agriculture of Holland has ordered commercial producers to confine flocks indoors following the emergence of avian influenza diagnosed in small farm in Baden-Wurttemberg region in Germany near the common border  of the two E.U. nations.


Precautions required by authorities follow the regulations introduced in 2018 when extensive dissemination of avian influenza virus occurred from migratory waterfowl. Free range systems are widely used for ducks and geese and to a large extent for egg production in Holland.


Restrictions on outside access were imposed in the UK in 2018 and 2019 following the emergence of avian influenza, introduced and spread by migratory  waterfowl. 




Tuesday April 14, 2020:

1:00 Opening remarks



A Global Egg Outlook: The future of Specialty Eggs - Dr. Peter Van Horne, Wageningen University


Session I - General Session

2:00 It’s more than their mind and their back – Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms


2:30 BREAK


3:00  Capital & financial perspectives panel

Session II - Ventilation Workshop**

2:00 - 4:00 Classroom session on ventilation mgmt. Dr. Brett Ramirez, Iowa State University

3:00 BREAK


4:00 Hands-on ventilation trailer rotations begin

4:00 From the eye of a needle to the eye of a hurricane: Connecting the threads of animal agriculture Joe Kerns, Kerns & Associates

4:50 Cage-Free ventilation modeling for bird comfort and reducing disease spread Dr. Eileen Fabian, Pennsylvania State University


6:00 Reception


Wednesday April 15, 2020:



8:00 Strategies for communicating across the generations in the workplace  Dr. Robynn Pease, Oregon State University


8:35 Microbial-based strategies for chickens to protect against multiple bacteria: Our approaches  Dr. Melha Mellata, Iowa State University


9:10 Heading off food safety issues - Kim Rice, Rose Acre Farms


9:45 The challenge of too many options: egg safety and hen housing - Dr. Deana Jones, USDA-ARS


10:20 BREAK


10:50 Infectious coryza in Pennsylvania - Dr. Sherrill Davison, University of Pennsylvania


11:30 Purchasing trends of specialty eggs by U.S. consumers - Maro Ibarburu, Egg Industry Center


12:00 LUNCH


Photo credit: Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau


**Registration and hotel information is available at www.eggindustrycenter.org Early bird registration and hotel room block expire March 24, 2020.

**Forum participants can opt to participate in this event free of charge. Personnel coming for only this workshop will be charged $35 each.




In the editorial on coryza posted in the February 7th edition of EGG-NEWS the dose of CTC was incorrectly stated as 700g per ton. The dose administered was 400 g per ton.



Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus Under Investigation

While the number of infected individuals in China now exceeds 60,000 with over 1,000 fatalities, scientists continue to investigate the source of the infective agent termed COVID-19 formerly 2019-nCoV. Based on sequencing, it was concluded that an animal reservoir, possibly a snake, was the reservoir of the virus.


Epidemiologic data implicated the Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan with early cases identified in late December leading to the closure of the facility on January 1st 2020. Recently The Lancet published a report that the index case may have been identified on December 1st and that the individual had no connection to the seafood market.


There is no question that the SARS outbreak, also caused by a coronavirus in 2003, was initially a zoonosis with bats serving as a reservoir transmitting the infection to palm civets that are consumed as a delicacy in China and are sold in wet markets. It is possible that a complex host interaction has led to the emergence of the Wuhan coronavirus that may by now be transmissible among humans following mutation.


The Washington Times reported on a conspiracy theory that the virus escaped from a presumed Wuhan national biosafety laboratory. A mildly pathogenic coronavirus, hardly more deadly in its effect than influenza, would most certainly not be a candidate for a biological weapon and without obvious substantiation, the theory is soundly rejected.


The actual incidence rate of Wuhan coronavirus in China is, in all probability, underestimated. On February 12th authorities in Hubei Province with a population of 59 million changed the definition of the disease to include clinically affected cases not confirmed by antigen detection. This led to a surge in reported cases but not necessarily an increase in actual incidence. Dr. Scott Gottleib former Administrator of the FDA noted in a CNBC interview on February 3rd that scarcity of testing reagents and kits is probably limiting confirmation of a diagnosis to the most seriously affected patients showing atypical pneumonia. It is also presumed that most of the fatalities occur in the elderly or those with predisposing conditions. Notwithstanding this reality the mortality rate , depending on divisor, is apparently far higher in Wuhan than other areas of China or in Japan and Korea


The real impact of Wuhan Coronavirus infection lies in the economic disruption associated with quarantine of 16 metropolitan areas involving over 50 million people concurrent with and subsequent to the Lunar New Year. Disruption of international travel and breakdown of supply chains will most certainly reduce the GNP of China and will surely spill over to other nations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.


Economists are basing predictions on the 2003 outbreak of SARS, a condition which was less infective but more virulent than the Wuhan Coronavirus. Commentator Dr. Steve Liesman a contributing economist for CNBC noted that in 2020 China is a more important global force than it was in 2003 and the disruption of trade and supply chains will reduce GNP in China by as much as two percent and will have knock-on effects on China’s trading partners.


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
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