Cage-Free Report

08/01/2022

USDA Data On Cage-Free Production For July 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 July 2022, released on August 1st documented a 0.6 percent reduction in the complement of hens producing under the Certified Organic Program from June to 17.9 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 were 1.6 percent higher than in June to 87.0 million. The increase was attributed to new placements despite depletion of a single complex of 1.8 million hens due to HPAI in early June. 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 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 posted by the USDA.

 

Average weekly egg production for Certified Organic in July was down 0.6 percent from June 2022 attaining a questionably high average of 83.6 percent on a hen-week basis (last two months 84.1 percent). Average weekly flock production for cage free flocks other than Certified Organic in July was down by 0.6 percent from June 2022 attaining a questionable average of 82.5 percent on a hen-week basis (last two months 83.0 percent). Seasonally, younger flocks increase the availability of cage-free and organic eggs in response to pullet chick placements in anticipation of pre-Easter and pre-Christmas demand. Average flock production in July 2022 represented a balance between older flocks some of which were molted and the relatively higher production from pullet chicks placed during January 2022.

 

Flock Size Average

(million hens)

July

2022

June

2022

Average

Q2 - 2022

Average

Q1 - 2022

Average

Q4 - 2021

Average

Q3 - 2021

Certified Organic

17.9

18.0

18.1

18.2

17.7

17.6

Cage-Free Hens

87.0

85.6

88.2

92.9

81.7

72.3

Total Non-Caged

104.9

103.6

106.3

111.1

99.4

89.9

Average Weekly Production (cases)

June

2022

June

2022

Certified Organic @ 84.5% hen/day

294,235 

292,460 -0.6

Cage-Free @ 83.4% hen/day

1,381,256

1,396,222 +1.1

Total Non-Caged

1,675,491

1,688,682 +0.8

 

Average Nest Run Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.64/doz. May/June $1.64

Range:

$1.15 to $2.79/doz. (unchanged since Sept. ‘21).

FOB Negotiated July price, grade quality, nest-run. Loose.

Price range $2.40 to $3.10 per dozen

Average July Value of $2.76/doz. $2.46/doz. June 2022

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

$3.12/doz. July (was $2.75 June 2022)

USDA 6-Regions

*High: SW $3.49/doz. $3.99 (SW)

*Low: MW $2.99/doz. $2.04 (NW)

*Excludes HI and AK.

 

Negotiated nest-run cage-free price for July 2022 averaged $2.76 per dozen up from $2.46 per dozen in June 2022 reflecting unseasonal Q2 demand. Average July 2022 U.S. retail prices for cage-free eggs were 13.5 percent higher than in June 2022 consistent with demand. In reality a proportion of both cage free and organic production is still downgraded and sold as commodity brown eggs.

 

The disparity between wholesale and retail prices indicates that chains are maximizing margins especially on Certified Organic and pastured categories. 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 or 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.










































































































































































































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