Share via Email


* Email To: (Separate multiple addresses with a semicolon)
* Your Name:
* Email From: (Your IP Address is 54.92.164.9)
* Email Subject: (personalize your message)


Email Content:

USDA DATA ON CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION FOR DECEMBER, 2021

01/03/2022

EGG-NEWS summarizes and comments on data and trends in the monthly USDA Cage-Free Report, correlating and interpreting the data posted weekly on the EGG-NEWS Egg Weekly Price and Inventory Report.

 

The USDA Cage-Free Report for December 2021, released on January 3rd 2022 documented a 4.6 percent increase (0.8 million) in the population of hens producing under the Certified Organic Program to 18.2 million (rounded to 0.1 million). The number of hens classified as cage-free (but excluding Certified Organic) including aviary, barn and other systems of housing increased by a reported 13.7 percent from 76.9 million to 92.9 million. The total number of cage-free and Certified Organic hens apparently increased by 23.6 percent (21.2 million hens) from the average of the 3rd Quarter of 2021 at 89.9 million to 111.1 million for the average of the 4th Quarter of 2021. 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. It is evident that a noteworthy proportion of organic and cage-free eggs are down-priced to the generic category when comparing Nielsen retail sales data with potential production based on apparent hen numbers as documented by the USDA.

 

Average flock production for Certified organic was increased from November by 5.5 percent to 84.4 percent from 80.0 percent hen/week production. Average flock production for cage free flocks other than Certified Organic was increased from November by 5.3 percent to 84.2 percent from 80.0 percent hen/week production. These increases suggest on average, a considerably younger flock in December compared to November. Seasonally, younger flocks increase the availability of cage-free and organic eggs in response to pullet chick placements in anticipation of both pre-Christmas and pre-Easter demand. Average flock production in December represented a balance between older flocks and the relative production from pullet chicks placed during mid-June 2021 together with a small number of molted flocks that were brought back into production during early December.

 

Flock Size Average

(million hens)

December 2021

Average

Q4 - 2021

Average

Q3 - 2021

Average

Q2 - 2021

Average

Q1 - 2021

Average

Q4 - 2020

Certified Organic

18.2

17.7

17.6

17.5

17.4

17.2

Cage-Free Hens

92.9

81.7

72.3

68.5

66.6

62.9

Total Non-Caged

111.1

99.4

89.9

86.0

84.0

79.1

 

Average Weekly Production (cases)

NOVEMBER

2021

DECEMBER

 2021

Certified Organic

270,833 

298,354 +10.2%

Cage-Free

1,196,409

1,521,277 +27.2%

Total Non-Caged

1,467,242

1,819,631 +24.0%

 

Average Whole Contact Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.64/doz. Dec. ($1.64 November 2021)

Range:

$1.15 to $2.79/doz. (unchanged since September).

FOB Negotiated December price, grade quality, nest-run. Loose Price range $1.25 to $1.86 per dozen

Average December Value of $1.69/doz. $1.54/doz. November 2021

 

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

$2.54/doz. (was $2.55 November 2021)

USDA 6-Regions

*High: NW $2.83/doz. $2.85 (NW)

*Low: SC $2.43/doz. $2.40 (SC)

*Excludes HI and AK.

 

Negotiated nest-run cage-free price for December averaged $1.69 per dozen up from $1.54 per dozen in November and $0.96 per dozen in October 2021. December retail prices for cage-free eggs were similar to November contributing to increased seasonal demand. In reality a substantial proportion of both cage free and organic production is downgraded and sold as commodity brown eggs.

The disparity between wholesale and retail prices indicates that retailers are maximizing margins. This strategy restricts volume of sales and is to the disadvantage of producers.

 

Based on the importance of cage-free production, the USDA-AMS issues the report on volumes and prices at monthly intervals for the information of Industry stakeholders. There is obvious doubt as to the accuracy of individual monthly flock numbers especially when reports show a marked change for the last month in a quarter and either no change in the cage-free flock for intervening or sequential months. It is suggested that USDA should consider a quarterly report with more accurate and consistent hen data. This would be more useful to the industry for planning and marketing decisions.

 

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.