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February 2020 data was unchanged from January. This month marked the first decline in total cage-free hen population consistent with saturated demand relative to lower-priced generic eggs from caged flocks.


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 when reports show either no change or a significant increase in the cage-free flock for a specific month. It is suggested that a quarterly report with more accurate and consistent data would be suitable for the industry.


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 February 2020 released on March 2nd 2020 documented an unchanged population of hens producing under both the Certified Organic seal and as generic cage-free production (Accepting USDA data). 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 maintained at 76.0 percent for both categories of non-caged hens reflecting the advancing age of flocks placed as chicks during August 2019 in anticipation of the Christmas market offset by higher production from October 2019-placed chicks for Easter 2020.


Flock size January and February 2020

(million hens)

Dec. 2019

Av. Q3 2019

Av. Q2 2019


Certified Organic 15.7





Cage-free hens 54.0





Total non-caged 69.7






Average weekly production (cases), Jan. and Feb. 2020 (December 2019)

Certified Organic

231,294 (240,580 Dec.)


797,498 (809,417 Dec.)

Total non-caged

1,028,792 (1,049,997 Dec.)


Average Wholesale Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.53/doz. ($1.53 Sept. through Dec 2019)


$1.15 to $2.10/doz. (unchanged)

FOB Negotiated price, grade quality, nest-run, loose

Price range $0.77 to $0.92 per dozen

Average Value of $0.86/doz. (was $0.81 Jan.)

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

$2.73/doz. (was $2.51 Jan. 2020)

USDA 6-Regions

High: NE

$3.19/doz. $2.92 (NE.)


Low: SC

$2.20/doz. $2.26 (S.W.)

Subscribers are referred 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.