Egg Month




  • October 2023 USDA ex-farm blended USDA nest-run benchmark price was 89.0 cents per dozen, down 11.4 percent from the September 2023 value of 100.4 cents per dozen. For comparison average USDA benchmark price over 2022 was 236.1 cents per dozen with a range of 191.1 cents per dozen in June to a high of 439.1 cents in December. Stock levels and prices prior to the onset of flock depletion due to HPAI indicated a relative seasonal balance between supply and demand. Future wholesale prices will be largely dependent on consumer demand in an inflationary and price conscious environment. Other considerations include diversion to shell sales from the egg-breaking sector. Fluctuation in wholesale price is attributed in part to the amplification of upward and downward swings due to the benchmark price discovery system in use. Restoration of seasonal prices commenced at the end of the third quarter extending into to late summer. Stability in price persisted in October with an anticipated increase through to the remainder of 2023. An unknown factor will be the extent of highly pathogenic avian influenza that has emerged in commercial turkey flocks in seven states and more recently a large egg-production complex in Minnesota.
  • October 2023 USDA average nest-run production cost, applying updated inputs was up 0.7 cents per dozen to 80.3 cents per dozen compared to the September 2023 value of 79.6 cents per dozen, mainly attributable to a 7.5 percent higher average feed cost per dozen. Approximately 60 cents per dozen should be added to the USDA benchmark nest-run cost to cover processing, packing material and transport to establish a realistic price as delivered to warehouses.
  • October 2023 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a positive value of 8.7 cents per dozen compared to a positive margin of 20.8 cents per dozen for September 2023. Average nest-run monthly margin over 2022 was 155 cents per dozen, mainly due to higher prices following HPAI-depletion of flocks. It is emphasized that the U.S. benchmark price reflects nest run eggs.
  • The September 2023 national flock in production (over 30,000 hens per farm) was up 1.0 percent or 3.0 million hens (rounded) to 303.6 from the August 2023 value of 300.1 million. Approximately 3.5 million hens returned to production from molt in October together with projected maturation of 22.0 million pullets, with this number offset by depletion of spent flocks. From February through mid-December 2022, approximately 44 million hens were depopulated to control HPAI during spring and fall waves reducing the producing flock by an approximate constant weekly average of 20 million hens during 2022.
  • September 2023 pullet chick hatch of 25.6 million was down 4.1 percent or 1.1 million from August 2023.
  • September 2023 exports of shell eggs and products combined was down 5.0 percent from August 2023 to 416,200 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 5.6 million hens.




Summary tables for the latest USDA October 2023 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on November 8th 2023 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and compared with values from the previous October 12th 2023 posting reflecting September 2023 costs and production data as applicable. Monthly comparisons of production data and costs are based on revised USDA values.






5-Region Cost of Production ex farm (1st Cycle)1

79.6 c/doz

80.3 c/doz


75.5c/doz (MW)

76.0 c/doz (MW)


89.5 c/doz (N.West)

89.9c/doz (N.West)

Components of USDA 6-Region 1stCycle nest-run Cost of Production updated by the EIC in May 2023 following an industry survey:-

Note: 1. Rounded to decimal of a cent






40.7 c/doz


Pullet depreciation

12.1 c/doz

12.1 c/doz

Labor (estimate) plus


Housing (estimate) plus



Miscellaneous and other*


* Adjusted May 2023


Ex Farm Margin (rounded to nearest cent) according to USDA values reflecting OCTOBER 2023:-

89.0 cents per dozen1- 80.3 cents per dozen = cents per dozen (September 2023 comparison: 100.4 cents per dozen – 79.6 cents per dozen = 20.8 cents per dozen.

Note 1: USDA Blended nest-run egg price





Ex-farm Price (Large, White)

100.4 c/doz (Sep.)

89.0c/doz (Oct.)


Cage-free to packing plant1

120.0 c/doz (Sep.)

123.0 c/doz (Oct.)


Warehouse/Dist. Center

146.0 c/doz (Sep.)

124.0 c/doz (Oct.)


Store delivered (estimate)

151.1 c/doz (Sep.)

129.0 c/doz (Oct.)


Dept. Commerce Retail

204.3 c/doz (Aug.)

206.5c/doz (Sep.)

  1. Negotiated price, nest-run loose



U.S. Average Feed Cost per ton $251.69 $269.99

Low Cost Midwest $229.23 $251.39

High Cost Northwest $306.86 $317.36

Differential $ 77.63 $ 65.97

Pullet Cost*

 (19 Weeks)  $4.73 SEPT. 2023  $4.76 OCTOBER 2023

(16 weeks) $4.15 SEPT. 2023 $4.17 OCTOBER 2023

* Values adjusted by EIC in May 2023







Table-strain eggs in incubators

49.9 million* (Sep.)

 50.2 million (Oct.)

Pullet chicks hatched

26.3 million* (Aug.)

 25.6 million (Sep.)

Pullets to be housed 5 months after hatch

23.8 million* (Jan. )

 22.3 million (Dec.)

EIC 2023 December 1st Flock Projection (estimate)

328.0 (Oct.)

327.3 million (Nov.)

National Flock in farms over 30,000 

300.0 million (Aug.)

303.2 million (Sep.)

National egg-producing flock 

317.2 million* (Aug.)

320.2 million (Sep.)

Cage-free flock excluding organic

107.3 million (Sep.)

107.4 million (Oct.)

Proportion of flocks in molt or post-molt

13.1% (Sep.)

14.0% (Oct.)

Total of hens in National flock, 1st cycle (estimate)

 275.5 million (Aug.)

 275.4 million (Sep.)

* USDA Revision

Total U.S. Eggs produced (billion)

8.08 August

7.88 September

Total Cage-Free hens in production

126.2 million (Sep.)

15.0% Organic

124.7 million (Oct.)

15.0% Organic

“Top-5” States hen population (USDA)1

151.8 million (Aug.)

152.9 million (Sep.)

Notes 1. Texas excluded to maintain confidentiality

* USDA Revision


Based on a nominal denominator of 300 million hens in flocks over 30,000 covering 94.6 percent of the U.S complement.

USDA has amended inclusion of specific states in regions and eliminated Texas data to protect confidentiality of Company flock

























dsTexas (estimate)

7.3% ?






  1. Values rounded to 0.1%

Rate of Lay, weighted hen-week (USDA) 82.0% September 2023. 82.1% October 2023

Revised per capita egg consumption 2019:- 293.4 (up 5.6 eggs from 2018)

Revised per capita egg consumption 2020:- 285.6 (down 7.8 eggs from 2019)*

Revisedper capita egg consumption 2021:- 282.5 (down 3.1 eggs from 2020)*

Revised per capita egg consumption 2022:- 279.0 (down 3.5 eggs from 2021 due to HPAI) Projected per capita egg consumption 2023:- 280.5 (up 1.5 eggs from 2022) Forecast per capita  egg consumption 2024 288.7 (up 7.3 eggs from 2023 assuming no HPAI)

*Revised, using data from USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook September 12th 2023 taking into account demand from the food service sector and including the effect of HPAI depopulation.

Egg Inventories at beginning of OCTOBER 2023:

Shell Eggs: 1.79 million cases up 5.1 percent from September 2023.

Frozen Egg Products: 777,997 case equivalents down 9.1 percent from September 2023

Dried Egg Products: Not disclosed since March 2020 following market disruption due to COVID. Assume moderate level of inventory

Eggs broken under FSIS inspection (million cases)

AUGUST 2023, 7.06 SEPTEMBER 2023, 6.47

Cumulative eggs broken under FSIS inspection 2022 (million cases) 79.3 JAN. to DEC.

Cumulative 2022: number of cases produced (million) 257.3 JAN. to DEC.

Cumulative 2022: proportion of total eggs broken 30.8% (28.9% 2021)

Cumulative 2023: number of cases produced (million) 195.0 JAN. – SEP.

Cumulative 2023: proportion of total eggs broken 30.0% JAN.—SEP.

EXPORTS SEPTEMBER 2023: (Expressed as shell-equivalent cases of 360 eggs).


Quantity Exported



Shell Eggs (thousand cases)

AUG. 250 SEP. 240

Products (thousand case equivalents)

AUG. 188 Sep. 176

TOTAL (thousand case equivalents)*

AUG. 438 Sep. 416


*Representing 2.0 percent of National production in SEPTEMBER 2023.









The USDA reports data for five regions, respectively comprising the Northeast, South East (Mid-Atlantic), South Central, Midwest, and Northwest (NW and California combined in some tables).

From March 2019 onward some state data was withheld to maintain confidentiality where a company predominates in a specific state or region. From March 2021 California costs were inexplicably excluded, representing an unjustified concealment of data. The three Pacific Coast states could be combined to maintain confidentiality while providing representative U.S. data. Costs include fixed components (interest, depreciation and overhead) and variable components (feed, pullet depreciation, labor) recalculated in May 2023 by the EIC based on surveys

  • The USDA ex farm benchmark blended egg price in October 2023 was 11.3 percent lower at 89.0 cents per dozen from the September 2023 value of 100.4 cents per dozen. This contributed to a positive margin of 8.7 cents per dozen based on ‘nest-run’ generic eggs (ungraded as delivered from the laying house) in October 2023, compared to a positive margin of 20.8 cents per dozen in September 2023. The October 2023 USDA benchmark price of 89.0 cents per dozen should be compared to 77.7 cents per dozen for the corresponding month in 2021 and 284.4 cents per dozen in October 2022 affected by HPAI. The relatively high values from the second through fourth quarters of 2022 compared to corresponding periods for the two previous years were due to depletion of hens following the emergence of HPAI coupled with a rise in demand following relaxation of COVID restrictions and the amplification of price rises due to the benchmark costing system.
  • During October 2023, the feed component of production cost averaged 41.3 cents per dozen, up 1.5 percent or 0.6 cents per dozen from September 2023. During 2022 average feed cost was 50.1 cents per dozen compared to 42.5 cents per dozen in 2021 and 31.7 cents per dozen in 2020.
  • Combining data from the USDA and the EIC, producers recorded a positive margin of 8.7 cents per dozen at farm-level for generic-egg flocks during October 2023. This compares with a margin of 20.8 cents per dozen in September 2023. Cumulative algebraic nest run margin for the first nine months of 2023 attained 615.2 cents. During 2022 cumulative algebraic margin attained 1,887 cents. For 2021 the cumulative average algebraic margin was 91.0 cents per dozen; for 2020, 16.0 cents; for 2019, (2.8) cents and for 2018, 35.3 cents per dozen, against USDA benchmark ‘nest run’ values.
  • The simple average price of feed in October 2023 over 5-regions was $255.57 per ton, higher by $3.88 per ton or 1.5 percent compared to September 2023. Southwest data is no longer disclosed to avoid compromising a company that predominates in Texas. The highest cost among five regions was the Northwest at $309.27 per ton, up 0.8 percent from September 2023. This may be compared to the lowest-cost region, the Midwest at $232.08 per ton, up 0.8 percent from the previous month. The average cost for feed includes ingredients plus milling and delivery at a nominal $10 per ton.
  • The benchmark price of corn was $186.26 per ton in October 2023, down $1.85 per ton or 1.0 percent from the average September 2023 price, taking into account the difference in basis paid by producers. The differential in corn price between the Midwest and the Northwest in October 2023 was $83.68 per ton. A 5.4 percent increase of $22.83 per ton in the price of soybean meal to $441.06 per ton in October 2023 offset the lower price of corn. During October 2023 there was a differential of $77.19 per ton in feed price between the Midwest and the Northwest compared to a difference of $77.63 per ton in September 2023 corresponding to 12.4 cents per dozen. The industry has experienced sharp increases in the cost of phosphate additives, fat and vitamins since March 2022.
  • Feed price will continue to be a major factor driving production cost and hence margin. November WASDE #642 (in this edition) released on November 9th confirmed the volumes for the 2023 corn and soybean harvests, ingredient use, exports and ending stocks for the two major feed ingredients. Unknown factors influencing feed cost during the fourth quarter of 2023 will include
  • the consequences of conflict in Ukraine with inevitable disruption in production and especially shipping through the Black Sea.
  • The projected large harvests in Brazil.
  • Demand by China will influence prevailing prices in international trade.
  • The availability and hence prices of ingredients will also be influenced by weather conditions following the transition from a La Nina, in the second quarter of 2023, to become an El Nino
  • The prolonged May-July drought affecting early-planted corn and all soybeans in the Midwest and also reduced the rate of barge shipping on the Mississippi waterway system.
  • Export volume from the U.S. and especially to China.
  • Diversion of corn to ethanol and soy oil to biodiesel.
  • The economic and logistic effects associated with inflation.

There is obviously higher demand for ethanol with production projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 970,000 barrels per day but with an average exceeding one-million barrels per day during the first three quarters of 2023. Substantial exports of soybeans to China, during market year 2022/2023 increased domestic price and hence cost of egg production. Each $10 per ton difference in feed cost represents approximately 1.70 cents per dozen. A change of $1 per ton (2.8 cents per bushel) in the price of corn is reflected in a 0.11 cent per dozen change in production cost. A $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal affects production cost by 0.35 cent per dozen.

  • The EIC calculated the 5-Region adjusted total nest-run production cost in October to be 80.3 cents per dozen, 0.7 cent per dozen higher than September 2023. Production costs during October 2023 ranged from 75.5 cents per dozen in the Midwest up to 89.9 cents per dozen in the Northwest, higher than the Midwest region by 13.9 cents per dozen. During 2022 the average monthly cost of production was 81.0 cents per dozen.

Deletion of California data is considered a substantial deficiency of the EIC Report.

  • Retail egg prices as determined by the Department of Commerce for September 2023 averaged 206.5 cents per dozen, up 1.3 cents per dozen or 0.6 percent, compared to August 2023 at 204.3 cents per dozen. During September 2021 and 2022 retail prices were respectively 188.5 and 290.2 cents per dozen. Through 2017 and 2021 average retail prices did not decline in proportion to ex-farm prices, with chains imposing higher margins at retail, thereby depressing demand. Conventional supermarkets have recently demonstrated some restraint in pricing possibly due to competition from deep discounters and club stores, despite sustained demand.
  • August 2023 average retail markup on generic white Large was 60.5 percent based on a delivered-to-warehouse price of $1.29 per dozen and USDA Retail of $2.07 per dozen.




  • According to USDA, the estimated average complement of U.S. hens in flocks over 30,000 during September 2023 amounted to 303.2 million, reflecting a net increase in flock size by 3.2 million hens during the month. Routine depletion and also depopulation due to HPAI during 2022 was offset by pullet replacements and retained flocks. The average total U.S. flock including hens in molt on all farms counted by the USDA amounted to 320.2 million in September 2023. The average end-of-year flock sizes over the past seven years respectively were, 2014, (311 million); 2015, (291 million post-HPAI losses); 2016, (319 million); 2017, (329.6 million); 2018, (341.6 million); 2019, (341.6 million) and 2020, (325.5 million). The December 1st 2023 flock was projected to be 327.3 million hens in November 2023 applying the EIC model. Flock size during 2022 was depressed by spring and fall waves of depopulation due to HPAI amounting to 44 million hens through mid-December 2022. With replacements, molting and delayed depopulation it is estimated that the national flock now comprises 4 million fewer hens each week than before the advent of HPAI. In the absence of a vaccine only effective biosecurity will protect flocks going forward.
  • Pullet chick hatch attained 25.6 million in September 2023, down 1.1 million from Augudr 2023. During the past quarter seasonal egg prices have been considerably lower than before the 2022 HPAI epornitic, resulting in decreased demand for chicks.
  • The total in-molt and post-molt population of hens in the 5-Regions monitored by the USDA attained 13.1 percent of the national flock in September 2023, up 0.8 percent from the previous month. Annual averages for molt and post-molt combined were 14.4 percent in 2021, 13.5 percent for 2020, 15.2 percent for 2019 and 17.4 percent for 2018. The historical high value of 23.8 percent in 2016 was due to the loss of hens during the 2015 HPAI epornitic. This situation will not be revisited in 2023.
  • During the first quarter of 2023 the average monthly transfer of pullets to laying houses was 23.5 million followed by 20.8 million in the second quarter and 24.5 million in the third quarter. Revised data anticipate the transfer of 25.2 million pullets per month during the last quarter 2023.
  • The projected hatchery supply flock (parent generation) peaked at 3.1 million hens in June 2022. The previous high parent-flock of 3.1 million hens in production was in June 2015, coinciding with the end of the HPAI epornitic. Parent hens then declined to a low of 2.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. During 2023 the flock size for parent hens will average 2.5 million over the fourth quarter. The size of the parent flock is unlikely to be revised based on pullet chick orders influenced by the demand to replace depopulated hens and in response to possible higher producer margins. It is understood that production of additional pullet chicks is unlikely given forward planning by breeder-hatcheries and full utilization of facilities.
  • Average hen-week production of 82.1 percent in October 2023 compared to a revised value of 82.0 percent in September 2023 reflects a higher proportion of younger hens in the national flock with many first-cycle hens and early second-cycle hens in production. Average rate of lay in 2021 was 82.0 percent, with 80.9 percent in 2020 and compared to 79.2 percent during 2019. The average rate of lay during any period is a function of the proportion of pullets placed, the rate of depletion of flocks and retention of molted hens for a second cycle. Average flock production declines as the weighted flock age increases or conversely will rise due to early depletion thereby increasing the proportion of young hens in their first cycle.
  • The October 25th edition of the USDA Poultry Slaughter Report documented 2.5 million light spent-hens processed under FSIS inspection during September 2023, 15.3 percent less than during the previous month of August 2023 and 7.2 percent less than in September 2022. These differences are inconsequential in comparison to the depletion of 15 million hens per month with most either rendered or consigned to landfills. Provided housing space is available, prevailing low prices will result in depletion of flocks with more routine or previously scheduled flock depletions.


  • Monthly export data can be accessed under the STATISTICS Tab.
  • According to USDA-FAS data, 240,000 cases of shell eggs were exported in September 2023, representing 1.1 percent of total production. This was a 4.6 percent decrease compared to August 2023 despite lower prices. The increase in exports was attributed mainly to 21,000 fewer cases to Canada.
  • Exports of egg products in September 2023 attained 176,000 case-equivalents down 6.2 percent from the previous month, representing 0.8 percent of U.S. output.
  • Collectively, exports of shell eggs and products in September 2023 comprised the output from approximately 5.6 million hens in production during the month, attaining 416,200 case-equivalents, up 5.0 percent from August 2023 but 30.2 percent less than combined exports during the pre-HPAI first quarter of 2022 averaging 596,300 case equivalents per month.
  • Maintaining export volume is attributed to cooperation between the AEB and USAPEEC, in existing, new and potential markets. Specific attention is directed to nations with the potential to import U.S. product based on landed price against competition. Exports of both egg-products and shell eggs in September 2023 corresponded to 1.9 percent of a nominal national flock of approximately 300 million producing hens, (before HPAI depletions) on commercial farms holding more than 30,000 hens.
  • There is no scientifically justifiable reason why any nation should embargo pasteurized egg products from an approved plant, based on a diagnoses of H5 or H7 avian influenza or velogenic Newcastle disease in a specific state or country.