Egg Industry News

Harvest Report for the Past Week


The December 9th USDA Crop Progress Report, the last for the 2019 season, documented a continued advance in harvesting a crop delayed by late planting due to flooding in spring, drought in some areas at mid-stage and inclement weather during the harvest period.



As of December 8th in 18 major corn-producing states, responsible for 94 percent of the 2018 crop, 92 percent of corn had been harvested. This compares to a five-year average of 98 percent. During the past week, 3 percent was gathered consistent with the trend of diminishing returns at the end of each harvest year. States with suboptimal harvests of corn included N.Dakota (43 percent of projected total) and Wisconsin and Michigan at 74 percent each. The remaining 15 states posted harvests of 93 percent to 100 percent.


Farmers harvested an additional 4 percent of soybeans crop past week completing the harvest of the faster-growing crop. North Carolina harvested only 75 percent of soybeans planted with Michigan and Wisconsin at 75 percent each. Other states ranged from 92 percent (N. Dakota) to 100 percent as of December 8th.


Any remaining corn or soybeans in fields can be regarded as unmarketable.


Egg Monthly


Review of November 2019 Production Costs and Statistics.

  • November 2019 USDA ex-farm blended nest-run benchmark price was up 47 cents per dozen or 118.0 percent from October 2019 to 106.8 cents per dozen. Higher price is consistent with seasonal purchase trends but moderated in extent and timing by oversupply.
  • November 2019 USDA average nest-run production cost was 0.4 percent lower than October 2019 at 59.8 cents per dozen due to decreased feed costs.
  • November 2019 USDA benchmark nest-run margin increased to a positive value of 47.0 cents per dozen from a loss in October of 11.2 cents per dozen, representing a swing of 58.2 cents per dozen.
  • October national flock ( over 30,000 hens/farm) was up 2.4 million or 0.8 percent to 319.5 million.
  • October pullet chick hatch was up 4.3 percent from September to 26.2 million.
  • October exports of shell eggs and products were up 32.7 percent to 957,300 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 14.9 million hens.



Summary tables for the latest USDA November 2019 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on December 6th 2019 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and reviewed in comparison with values from the previous November 8th 2019 posting reflecting October 2019 cost and production data.



From January 2019 onwards EIC has used USDA-AMS data for regional corn, soybean and standard feed prices. The basis for corn will be cash payment except for California (10-day delivery) and Louisiana and Oregon (30-day delivery). For soybean meal a similar approach is applied with 20-days for Minnesota. It is noted that January 2019 prices are not directly comparable with December 2018. Month-to-month comparisons in 2019 are valid.




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

59.8 c/doz

60.2 c/doz


56.8 c/doz (MW)

57.3c/doz (MW)


78.0 c/doz (CA)

78.4 c/doz (CA)

Components of USDA 6-Region 1stCycle nest-run Cost of Production:-





31.0 c/doz


Pullet depreciation

10.9 c/doz

11.0 c/doz

Labor (estimate)

4.0 c/doz

4.0 c/doz

Housing (estimate)*

5.0 c/doz

5.0 c/doz

Miscellaneous and other*

9.8 c/doz

8.9 c/doz

* Adjusted February 2019 and used as a rounding factor


Ex Farm Margin (rounded to nearest cent) according to USDA values reflecting NOVEMBER 2019:-

106.8 cents per dozen1- 59.8 cents per dozen = 47.0

(Oct. 2019 comparison 49.0 1 cents per dozen - 60.2 cents per dozen = -11.2 cents per dozen.)

Note 1: USDA Blended egg price





Ex-farm Price (Large, White)

106.8 c/doz (Nov.)

49.0 c/doz (Oct.)


Cage-free to packing plant

153.0 c/doz (Oct.)

153.0 c/doz. (Sept.)


Warehouse/Dist. Center

129.0 c/doz (Oct.)

68.0 c/doz (Sept.)


Store delivered (estimate)

134.0 c/doz (Oct.)

73.0 c/doz (Sept.)


Dept. Commerce Retail

128.2 c/doz (Oct.)

139.0 c/doz (Sept.)

Layer Feed Cost



See note on source of data: now USDA

U.S. Average





$225.69/ton (West)

$227.54/ton (West)



$180.14/ton (MW)


$182.90/ton (MW)


Pullet Cost (19 Weeks) $3.76 November 2019 $3.78 OCTOBER 2019






Table-egg strain eggs in incubators

47.9 million (Nov.)

48.3 million (Oct.)

Pullet chicks hatched

26.2 million (Oct.)

25.1 million (Sept.)

Pullets to be housed in 5 months

23.6 million (March '20)

21.1 million (Feb '20.)


National Flock in farms over 30,000

319.5 million (Oct.)

317.1 million (Sept.)

National egg-producing flock

334.9 million (Oct.)

332.6 million (Sept.)


Proportion flock in molt or post-molt

15.4% (Nov.)

15.2% (Oct.)

Total of hens in flocks over 30,000, 1st cycle (estimate)

283.3 million (Oct.)

282.4 million (Sept.)

Total U.S. Eggs produced

8.41 billion (Oct.)

8.03 billion (Sept.)

Cage-Free hens in production

70.8 million (Nov.)

22.9% Organic

70.3 million (Oct.)

22.9% Organic

"Top-5" States hen population (USDA)

162.9* million (Oct.)

162.5 (Sept.)

* Texas excluded to maintain confidentiality


Based on a denominator of 320 million hens in flocks over 30,000.

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





Proportion by region (FEB. 2019)




MW 53.7%




NE 10.4%




SE 6.7%




SC 5.2% (exc. TX)

Texas (estimate)

6.0% ?

6.0% ?

CA 4.1%




NW 2.9%

1. Values rounded to 0.1%

Rate of Lay, weighted hen-week (USDA) 81.7% (OCTOBER) 80.3% (SEPTEMBER)


Actual USDA-ERS 2016 U.S. per capita annual egg consumption post HPAI:- 275.2 eggs (+19.8 from 2015)

Actual USDA-ERS 2017 U.S. per capita annual egg consumption:- 281.8 eggs (+6.6 from 2016)

Actual USDA-ERS 2018 U.S. per capita annual egg consumption to be:- 284.0 eggs (+2.2 from 2017)

Projected USDA-ERS 2019 U.S. per capita annual egg consumption to be:- 289.5 eggs (+5.5 from 2018)

Projected USDA-ERS 2020 U.S. per capita annual egg consumption to be:- 291.2 eggs (+1.7 from 2019)

Revised, using data from USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook November 15th 2019

Egg Inventories at beginning of NOVEMBER:

Shell Eggs: 1.77 million cases down 0.4 percent from October.

Egg Products: 3.40 million case-equivalents up 0.2 percent from October.

Eggs broken under FSIS inspection (million cases) OCTOBER 7.408 SEPTEMBER 6.834

Cumulative eggs broken under FSIS inspection 2019 (million cases) 69.4 JAN to OCT.

Cumulative 2019: number of cases produced (million) 226.7 JAN. to OCT.

Cumulative 2019: proportion of total eggs broken 30.6%


EXPORTS OCTOBER 2019: ( Expressed as shell-equivalent cases of 360 eggs).



Quantity Exported



Shell Eggs (thousand cases)

OCT. 596.5 SEPT. 406

Products (thousand case equivalents)

OCT. 360.8 SEPT. 316

TOTAL (thousand case equivalents)*

OCT. 957.3 SEPT. 722

*Representing 3.6 percent of National production in October 2019.





The USDA reports data for six regions, respectively comprising the Northeast, South East (Mid-Atlantic), South Central, Midwest, Northwest and California (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 .

  • The USDA ex farm benchmark blended egg price in November 2019 increased by 118.0 percent or 57.8 cents per dozen from October 2019 to 106.8 cents per dozen, contributing to a positive margin of 47.0 cents per dozen based on 'nest-run' eggs (delivered from the laying house). The November 2019 USDA benchmark price of 106.8 cents per dozen should be compared to 95.6 cents per dozen for the corresponding month in 2018 and 109.1 cents per dozen in October 2017, post-recovery from HPAI.

· During November 2019 the feed component of production cost averaged 31.0 cents per dozen 1.0 percent lower compared to October 2019. Year-to-date average feed price is 31.5 cents per dozen. The 2018 average feed cost was 33.3 cents per dozen compared with an average feed cost of 32.0 cents per dozen in 2017.

· Combining data from the USDA and the EIC, producers recorded positive margin of 47 cents per dozen at farm-level for flocks in November 2019 compared to a negative margin of 11.2 cents per dozen in October. The aggregate algebraic margin for the first eleven months of 2019 is -54.4 cents per dozen or an average monthly loss of 5.0 cents per dozen.

The cumulative margin for entire 2018 was 424.0 cents per dozen or a monthly average of 35.3 cents per dozen. The algebraic margin for entire 2017 was a positive 39.2 cents per dozen, with the first eight months negative comparing production cost against USDA benchmark 'nest run' values. The algebraic average margin for entire 2016 was a loss of 9.6 cents per dozen with negative values recorded for eight consecutive months.

· The simple average price of feed for November 2019 over 5-regions was $197.26 per ton, 1.0 percent lower (using USDA-AMS data) or $2.05 per ton compared to October 2019. Southwest data is no longer disclosed to avoid compromising a company that predominates in Texas. The highest cost among five regions was the West at $227.54 per ton compared to the lowest region, the Midwest at $180.04 per ton. The average figure includes ingredients plus milling and delivery at approximately $10 per ton. The benchmark price of corn was $148.43 per ton in November 2019, down $2.27 per ton or 1.5 percent lower than October taking into account the difference in basis. A decrease of $2.33 per ton or 0.7 percent in the price of soybean meal from $313.22 per ton in October to $310.89 per ton in November contributed to a lower feed cost. There was a wider differential of $45.55 per ton in feed price between the Midwest and the West compared to the comparison October. The differential in corn price between the Midwest and the West in October was $49.48 per ton ($47.93 in October).

· Feed price will continue to be a major factor driving production cost and hence margin. Unknown factors influencing feed cost during the last quarter of 2019 will include ongoing disruption of international trade due to tariffs imposed by China with little prospect of a settlement of the ongoing dispute in the current year. Each $10 per ton difference in feed cost represents 1.75 cents per dozen.

· The EIC-calculated the 6-Region total nest-run production cost in November 2019 to be 59.8 cents per dozen, 0.4 cents per dozen lower than in October. Production costs during November 2019 ranged from 56.7 cents per dozen in the Midwest up to 78.0 cents per dozen in California which was higher than the Midwest region by 21.3 cents per dozen.

· Retail egg prices as determined by the Department of Commerce for OCTOBER 2019 averaged 128.2 cents per dozen, 10.1 cents per dozen or 7.3 percent lower than in September 2019. During October 2017 and 2018 retail prices were respectively 154.0 and 166.0 cents per dozen. During 2016 and extending through mid-2018, retail prices did not decline in proportion to ex-farm prices allowing higher margins at retail thereby depressing demand.




· According to USDA data, the estimated average complement of U.S. hens in flocks over 30,000 during October 2019 amounted to 319.5 million, reflecting a seasonal adjustment in flock size. The average total U.S. flock including hens in molt on all farms counted by the USDA amounted to 334.9 million in October. The average end-of-year flock sizes over the past five years respectively were, 2012 (299 million); 2013 (308 million); 2014 (311 million); 2015 (291 million post HPAI losses) and in 2016 (319 million). The EIC predicts the December 2019 total flock will attain 340.3 million, 1.5 million more than the October forecast.

· Pullet chick hatch was up 4.3 percent in October 2019 to 26.2 million compared to the previous month at 25.1 million. The high October 2018 value of 27.4 million was in anticipation of the Easter 2019 market as is the increase in October 2019. It is evident that if lower than seasonal prices prevail during winter, flock placements will be constrained by some producers cancelling pullet-chick orders.

· The total in-molt and post-molt population of hens in the 5-Regions monitored by the USDA attained 15.4 percent of the national flock in November 2019, slightly higher than in October in anticipation of Christmas sales. Annual averages were 17.4 percent for 2018 and 18.0 percent in 2017. The high value of 23.8 percent in 2016 was due to the loss of hens in the 2015 HPAI epornitic.

· The average monthly projection for pullets to be transferred to laying houses during the fourth quarter of 2019 will be 24.6 million with 21.9 million during the first quarter of 2020.

· The projected hatchery supply flock attained 2.4 million in November 2019. Peak parent-flock placements rose to 3.1 million hens in production in June 2015, coinciding with the end of the HPAI epornitic, to a low of 2.5 million hens during the 4th Quarter of 2016. Projections show monthly averages of 2.3 and 2.4 million breeder hens in production during the third and fourth quarters of 2019 and 2.5 million during the 1 st Quarter of 2020.

· Average production of 81.7 percent in November 2019 compared to 80.3 percent in October reflects the relative number of young pullets approaching and attaining peak production. This is evidenced by the volume and hence price of mediums. Average rate of lay attained 78.7 percent during 2016, 79.8 percent in 2017 and 79.2 percent in 2018. 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 will fall as weighted flock age increases or will rise due to early depletion and restricting production to the first cycle.

· Slaughter of light spent-hens in plants under FSIS inspection during October 2019 was up 15.4 percent from September 2019 attaining 3.0 million. In October 2018, 4.2 million light hens were slaughtered under FSIS inspection. Spent-hens are shipped live to Canada from Northern-tier U.S. states or are rendered or composted in other regions. Approximately 14 million spent hens are disposed of each month.


· According to USDA-FAS data, 596,500 cases of shell eggs were exported in October 2019, compared to 406,100 in September 2019, representing 2.6 percent of total production. This value should be compared to the high value of 409,700 cases in March 2016 prior to the onset of HPAI.

During October 2019 the following regions were the leading importers:- North America, comprising the two neighboring NAFTA/USMCA nations (61.4 percent), East Asia (34.5 percent). Shipments in October 2019 to the Middle East decreased to 2.7 percent of monthly volume with 16,600 cases, up from 14,900 cases in September 2019.

· Exports of egg products in October 2019 were up 14.4 percent from September to 360,800 case-equivalents representing 1.5 percent of U.S. output. The following regions were the leading importers of egg products by proportion of volume shipped in September:- North America, our NAFTA/USMCA neighbors (received 43.0 percent), East Asia (34.5 percent), Southern Asia (6.5 percent), the EU-28 (1.4 percent) and the Caribbean (3.3 percent).

· Collectively, exports of shell eggs and products in October 2019 represented the output from approximately 14.9 million hens in production during the month, attaining 957,300 case-equivalents, up 32.7 percent from September. This was a 0.3 percent decrease compared to monthly average shipments of 960,000 case-equivalents exported over the first four months of 2015 prior to the advent of HPAI, indicating that international markets are being regained.


Efforts in this respect are attributed to cooperation between the AEB and USAPEEC both in existing and new 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 October 2019 corresponded to 4.1 percent of a nominal national flock of approximately 320 million hens in production 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 avian influenza or END in a state or country.





Export of Shell Eggs and Products January-October 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 the first ten months of 2019 with the corresponding period in 2018:-


Jan.-Oct. 2018

Jan.-Oct. 2019


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



+22.3 (+22.1%)

Value ($ million)



-14.8 (-13.5%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



-0.31 (-28.7%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



-668 (-2.5%)

Value ($ million)



-12.9 (-13.9%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



-412 (-11.6%)





Herbruck’s Establishes Wellness Clinic


Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch has established an employee wellness clinic to serve associates and dependents. The facility will provide screening, physical examinations and vaccinations.

The investment in a clinic is consistent with the generous employee-relations program operated by the fourth-generation egg producer, recognized as a standard for efficiency, safety and biosecurity.

The formal ceremony took place on December 3rd in Ionia, MI. and was an effective reminder that personnel in contact with chickens should receive an annual influenza vaccination. Apart from maintaining health and reducing absenteeism, vaccination against influenza may avert a recombinant event in the unlikely situation that a worker infected with a human strain comes into contact with a flock incubating avian influenza.


American Egg Board Lists 2020 Board Meetings


The American Egg Board has provided advanced notice of board meetings in 2020:

  • March 23-25, at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, FL.
  • Thursday, July 16th Executive Committee at the AEB office in Chicago
  • September 29-30, at the Gwen Hotel Chicago.


HatchTech selected by Huayu for Hy Line Parent Stock Hatchery in China.


HatchTech Incubation Technology has been selected by Huayu Agricultural Science and Technology Co., Ltd. to construct and equip a new hatchery. The facility to be erected in Handan, Hebei Province will produce Hy-Line parent stock chicks. HatchTech will supply incubators and HVAC installations for the hatchery, together with a full-service package of technical and biological support.


Due for completion in the third quarter of 2020, the new hatchery will supply 10 million parent layer chicks annually. The project will increase the approximate 60% market share of Hy Line in the egg production sector of China, placing more than 700 million pullets annually.


The new hatchery is the second collaboration between HatchTech and Huayu, following the successful completion of a commercial layer hatchery in July 2018. This

 layer hatchery in Handan is the world’s largest, with an annual production of 60 million day-old chicks.


“The commercial layer hatchery we built together with HatchTech is delivering excellent results,” said Mr .Wang Lianzeng, Chairman of Huayu Agricultural Science and Technology Co., Ltd. He added “our customers demand superior chick quality and a high level of biosecurity so we once again selected HatchTech to construct this important parent stock hatchery. Supported by an excellent team of technical and biological support from HatchTech’s offices in Beijing, we are confident that this new project will deliver success to all stakeholders”.


‘It is important that Hy-Line continues to develop its Chinese distribution operations’, adds Antonio Paraguassu, Managing Director at ILD/EW Group. “We strongly believe that, to support our market-leading position, we need to invest in the best possible production facilities, to provide our customers with the superior quality they demand and expect.”


As a leading supplier to the poultry industry, HatchTech enables companies worldwide to maximize the genetic potential of their flocks. HatchTech applies expertise and research to develop installations for incubation, chick transport and brooding and to deliver and service to customers. Headquartered in the Netherlands, and with offices in China and Ukraine, HatchTech supports producers in over 40 countries.


Additional information can be obtained by clicking on to the HatchTech logo on the right side of the Welcome page.




Corn and soybean prices diverged this past week attributed to:-


  • Renewed optimism over soybean purchases by China despite uncertainty over finalization of a "Phase 1" agreement. The parties have not reached an understanding on either tariff rescission or structural issues.
  • Prospects of exports of soybeans to China have resurfaced after dormancy since the White House announcement of "$40 billion in agricultural imports by China" following the October 10/11 th round of negotiations. The market for soybeans is responding positively despite the absence of specific details on quantities and prices or even an expressed commitment from state-controlled brokers in China.


Uncertainties still exist:-


  • Traders are responding to low yields of both corn and soybeans and the effect of recent bouts of severe weather in the upper Midwest.
  • Brexit and the U.S. relationship with the U.K and the E.U. especially with the threat of punitive tariffs on food products from France.
  • An unpredictable political situation delaying ratification of the USMCA possibly until early 2020.



AEB Awards 10-year Service Recognition to Ashley Richardson


The Senior Director of Marketing and Communication for the American Egg Board, Ashley Richardson received recognition for ten years of service at an office ceremony this past week


Through her unstinting efforts, Ashley has provided support to her colleagues and by application of innovation and leadership she has advanced the interests of the AEB and the U.S. egg production industry.


Hydrogen Peroxide and Ultra Violet Light Improve Shell Hygiene


According to Dr. Craig Coufal, founder of Innovative Poultry Solutions, a combination of exposure to ultra violet light in combination with hydrogen peroxide reduces shell contamination.  The combination of modalities is superior in reducing the level of Salmonella Enteritis in a suspension coated into shells compared to spraying with either a chlorine solution, a QAT or peracetic acid.


Based on experience, to be effective shell decontamination must be applied as early as possible after egg collection since motile bacteria will penetrate the shell through pores.  Delaying decontamination until pre-setting will reduce bacterial levels during incubation but will not affect bacteria that have penetrated the shell and outer membrane.

In years gone by in the U.S. and currently in nations were it is permitted, formaldehyde fumigation using appropriate chambers on breeder farms is effective in reducing the incidence of aspergillosis and omphalitis in chicks during the first week of brooding. The improvement is however dependent on the chain of hygiene extending from the time of collection through on-farm storage, transport and the hatchery environment.



Weather Impacts Availability of Potatoes


Abnormally cold weather in northern tier states of the U.S. and Canada will sharply reduce the 2019 potato harvest.  USDA estimated that domestic production will decline by six percent from 2018 with an equivalent drop recorded in Idaho, the nation’s leading producer of potatoes.  The situation in Canada is more severe with a 20 percent drop in output from Manitoba.

Since a proportion of the potato crop is processed into French fries (or possibly “Freedom” fries based on the outcome of the NATO summit) prices to QSRs will escalate.  Whether this will be reflected in an increase in price to consumers “wanting fries with that” depends on competitive factors and the willingness of consumers to pay more for their munchable calories.  The QSRs could shave cost by smaller portions that would beneficial from a health perspective providing they do not make up the weight with more salt.


Israeli Students Win Awards for Bee-Free Honey


A team of twelve students in Israel representing diverse biological science disciplines won prizes at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The multidisciplinary group produced a honey substitute using a nectar solution subjected to fermentation with a Bacillus subtilis isolate modified to produce enzymes paralleling secretions in the digestive tract of bees.


The team posted on their website, “Our vision is to create a sustainable Bee-Free Honey using engineered bacteria to process a nectar-like solution using secreted enzymes mimicking the honey-stomach environment of the bee”.


The iGEM competition attracted 300 teams worldwide. In total, 163 gold medals were awarded recognizing excellence in genetic engineering.


The BeeFree Team


Advanced Degree and Career Job Fairs at IPPE


The U.S. Poultry and Egg, Harold E. Ford Foundation (USPOULTRY Foundation) and the Poultry Science Association Foundation (PSA Foundation) has arranged the 3rdAnnual advanced-degree job fair. The event will take place during the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), scheduled for January 28th from 08H00 to 11H30 at the Georgia World Congress Center concurrent with the International Poultry Scientific Forum (IPSF).


This program is designed to serve U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) member companies and allied suppliers. The target participants are Post-Doctoral scientists in addition to Ph.D. and DVM students. 


USPOULTRY, through the USPOULTRY Foundation, also hosts the well-established and successful College Student Career Program during IPPE. The integral component of this outstanding program is the interview opportunities with member companies and exhibitors for summer internship employment and entry-level career positions for B.S. and M.S. students seeking employment in the poultry production, processing and allied supplier industries.




China-U.S. Phase-1 a Cliff-Hanger.

With only nine days to go before the U.S. imposes additional tariffs on imports from China there is considerable uncertainty over the outcome and resolution of the conflict. President Trump dashed hopes during the NATO meeting earlier this week indicating that an agreement might only be concluded and signed after the 2020 election. China is demanding an extensive roll back of tariffs, not only those deferred until December 15th. This would deprive the U.S. of their leverage on China necessary to bring about more equity in trade and resolving the structural issues underlying trade relations between the World’s two largest economies.


On Thursday President Trump was non-committal regarding an outcome but he confirmed that negotiations were proceeding. The trade issues are now complicated by Congressional action over Hong Kong and a tit-for-tat disagreement over the respective rights of diplomats in the U.S. and China.


Meanwhile the domestic storage of soybeans comprises a carryover of about 850 million bushels from the 2018 harvest in addition to 3,550 million bushels from the most recent crop. There is no sign of the promised $40 to $50 million in purchases of U.S. agricultural commodities by China as announced by the President in October.


Eggland’s Best Partners with Sur La Table on Promotion.


On December 5th Eggland’s Best announced that has partnered with Sur La Table to present an interactive cooking series at classes across the U.S. through December 15th.

The cooking series is part of the EB Better Family Meals program initiated during September to empower families to stay healthy by choosing more nutritious foods. In each class, attendees will be able to take home additional nutritious recipes created by the American Heart Association and Eggland’s Best. 

The Sur La Table program follows the joint promotion of the enriched egg with the American Heart Association. Families can find helpful resources, recipes and tips on the Association website created in collaboration with Eggland’s Best to make mealtime easier and more nutritious.

“This cooking series has reached thousands so far with practical information they can use to help their families eat better,” said Charlie Lanktree, CEO of Eggland’s Best. He added “we are committed to improving health and are proud of our track-record working with like-minded companies and organizations to boost family meals and improved nutrition.”

For additional information and registration for a class access


The Kroger Company Reports on Q3


In a press release dated December 4th The Kroger Company (KR) announced results for the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal 2019 ending November 9th

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 $ x 1,000 except EPS)

3rd Quarter Ending

Nov 9th 2019

Nov. 9th 2018

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization



52-Week Range in Share Price: $20.70 to $30.40: 50-day moving average $26.14

Market 14H45 post release December 5th $26.72 down 3.4 percent from open

Forward P/E 11.5

Same store Sales (excluding fuel) grew by 2.5 percent (1.7 percent Q3 FY 2018)

Digital sales increased by 21 percent over previous quarter.

Our Brands ™ increased by 3.4 percent compared to Q3 FY 2018 and 231 new items were introduced in Q3

Kroger has 1,915 pickup locations and 2,326 delivery hubs

In commenting on Q3 Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen stated "Kroger's customer obsession and focus on operational excellence continued to generate positive results in the third quarter. Identical sales were the strongest since we started Restock Kroger and gross margin rate, excluding fuel and pharmacy, improved slightly in the quarter. At the same time, we continued to reduce costs as a percentage of sales.

We are using the power of Kroger's stable and growing supermarket business to create meaningful incremental operating profit through the alternative profit stream businesses, which adds up to a business built for long-term growth that generates consistently attractive total shareholder returns. Kroger continues to generate strong and durable free cash flow as reflected by the fact that the company has reduced debt by $1.5 billion over the prior four quarters and continues to increase its dividend to create shareholder value.


Marler Clark Law Firm Funds Scholarship


Marler Clark, a professional law corporation involved in representing plaintiffs in food-borne infection cases has donated $25,000 to the Pearl City High School to stimulate interest in science. Each year, the school will offer a $1,000 scholarship to a student applying to a two- or four-year university curriculum involving science or a medically-related field of study. Applicants are required to submit an essay describing how science will impact their future career intentions. Preference will be extended to students with financial need.

Attorney Bill Marler, Managing Partner stated “Food-borne illness outbreaks can affect a great many people. With this donation we want to encourage young minds to consider science or medicine in the hope that the next generation can improve food safety for us all”.


Cases of Newcastle Disease Diagnosed in Southern California


The Newcastle disease outbreak in Southern California appeared to be at an end in September of this year with what appeared to be the last cases on August 14th, August 31st and September 18th. There were no incident cases diagnosed during the previous eight weeks before this series. On November 16th and 20th the California Department of Food and Agriculture announced that two cases appeared on adjacent backyard farms in San Bernardino County. The 3rd and 4th cases in the most recent series were diagnosed at a feed store and in a backyard flock in San Bernardino County on November 20th and 22nd respectively. 

APHIS has recorded 455 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly “fighting cocks”) in the Counties of San Bernardino (147), Riverside (260), Los Angeles (45), Alameda (1), San Diego (1) and Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to November 29th 2019. A single case of ND was diagnosed in a backyard flock (type and size not specified by CDFA) near Redwood City in Alameda County during the week of March 11th 2019.There was no extension from this location.

The successive monthly incidence rate of ND declined in November 2008 but a surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December 2008. Presumed extension from cases of vvND was confirmed in a flock of 103,000 replacement pullets aged six weeks near Perris, CA. on December 14th resulting in rapid depletion and disposal. This outbreak was followed by infection of three spatially and temporally related egg production farms with a combined population of approximately 250,00 hens. The infection was diagnosed in a flock of fighting cocks in Utah County, UT. on January 18th 2009 and in Coconino County, AZ (near Flagstaff) in early April 2009, presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California.

It is understood that $45 million was assigned for eradication although the objective of control of endemic vvND in game fowl could have been achieved by hyperimmunization rather than playing “whack-a-mole” Editorials in CHICK-NEWS on December 24th 2018 and March 1st 2019 were posted dealing with the ongoing outbreak. (see EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS under the SEARCH tab entering “Newcastle disease”).

The most recent outbreaks are not entirely unexpected given that Newcastle disease is in all probability endemic in the game fowl (cock fighting) and backyard chicken population. The first cases of Newcastle disease were diagnosed during May 2018 and the infection although essentially confined to four adjacent counties is expected to demonstrate an upsurge in incident cases after mid-December into 2010. The factors contributing to endemnicity and dissemination of vvND virus include movement of individual birds and flocks, proportion of immune birds in the population at risk and lack of biosecurity.

Mexico has recognized the OIE principle of regionalization after intensive negotiations between SENASICA and U.S. counterparts in USDA-APHIS assisted by USAPEEC. Exports of broiler parts, fertile eggs and breeding stock should not be impeded unless there is extensive dissemination of vvND with involvement of the commercial poultry industry in central or northern California or in adjoining states.


Egg Week


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, December 5th 2019.

  • Hen numbers in production down 0.3 million to 333.3 million .
  • Shell inventory up a significant 6.1 percent after a 3.0 percent drop in previous week
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large unchanged at 153.5 and 151.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were down 5.3 percent to 89.5 cents per dozen. A stable USDA benchmark price after three weekly rises and a sharply higher inventory this week suggests lower prices after a move up from a prolonged 8-month depressed market unless demand increases to match production.
  • Price of breaking stock unchanged at 77.0 cents per dozen. Checks unchanged at 63.0 cents per dozen reflecting shell-egg prices. Both categories are now above the cost of production


GM Improves Corn Yield


Scientists at Corteva Agri Sciences have demonstrated that modifying the expression of a corn gene, zmm28 enhances yield. In a published paper*, a transgenic approach was used to insert a  promoter altering the expression of zmm28. Modified plants showed increased leaf biomass and plant height due to improved photosynthesis and carbon assimilation. This resulted in a significant increase in grain yield.

The modified corn was subjected to field trials from 2014 through 2017 allowing selection of hybrids ranging in maturity from 105 to 113 days at 58 locations. Among the locations, two transgenic cultivars exceeded the yield of controls by 79 percent.

*Wu, J., et. al. Overexpression of zmm28 Increases Maize Grown Yields in the Field. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. (November 4, 2019)


Ajinomoto and Accenture to Initiate Joint Venture


A JV between Ajinomoto Company and Accenture will create a Ajinomoto Digital Partners Company responsible for management of all Ajinomoto businesses. Accenture will apply expertise in digital transformation in consumer goods and services to their one-third ownership. Ajinomoto a manufacturer of amino acids and specialty food additives is expected to benefit through improved efficiency and service.  


Rembrandt Foods Closing Renville Complex


Rembrandt Foods recently announced closure of the Renville, MN. complex due to market oversupply. The justification advanced by Paul Hardy, president of the company, that the action was market-driven and in response to legislative move to cage-free production is to a large extent invalid. Other companies are managing the transition at a relatively slow rate consistent with anemic growth in demand for cage-free eggs at the retail level.

It should be remembered that Rembrandt was impacted by avian influenza in 2015, possibly depleting financial reserves. The extended period of low egg prices has obviously influenced owner Glenn Taylor who has extensive interest in other enterprises that by comparison generate an acceptable return on investment.

Given the extended period of negative margins from April through October, it is possible that a number of independent and family-owned enterprises have depleted their working capital. Acquisitions and closures are inevitable irrespective of the transitory seasonal rise in prices leading up to Christmas.


FDA to Monitor Food Borne Pathogens on Romaine Lettuce


During the past two years, there have been four extensive outbreaks of foodborne STEC infection attributable to lettuce. A total of 320 cases were confirmed in the four outbreaks with a high proportion of hospitalization and with five fatalities.

The CDC identified Romaine lettuce as the vehicle after extensive field surveys. Growers in the Yuma Valley of Arizona have made changes to irrigation systems to avoid contamination from concentrated animal feeding operations adjacent to their fields.

For the period November 2019 to November 2020, the FDA will collect samples from the Yuma and Imperial Valleys and the central coast fields of California with higher frequency during the March and April and October to November periods. The FDA will collect 270 samples following aseptic procedure in accordance with the FDA Investigations Operations Manual. Samples will be obtained from wholesalers, food service distribution centers, commercial cold storage facilities and on-farm holding coolers. Samples will not be collected from growing fields.

If FDA detects either Salmonella or pathogenic E.coli (STEC) in a sample, the producer will be notified and advised to implement appropriate corrective action. FDA will perform whole genome sequencing on any pathogens detected and will enter data into a sequence repository.


Egg Nutrition Center Participates in National Diabetes Month


November was National Diabetes Month and accordingly the Egg Nutrition Center with a staff of dietitians and scientists emphasized the value of eggs in diets for people at risk. Weight loss is an important preventive measures for individuals predisposed to Type-2 diabetes. Eggs have little or no effect on blood glucose level and can be a component of a weight-loss diet.

Eggs have been shown to reduce weight and body fat in a group of adults with risk factors for Type-2 diabetes. Participants in a trial sponsored by the Egg Nutrition Center of the AEB consumed two eggs each day for three months with beneficial effects.

Consuming eggs at breakfast contributes to satiation necessary to avoid overconsumption of calories and weight gain. Numerous studies have demonstrated that individuals with Type-2 diabetes benefit from consuming eggs at breakfast.


Recall of Cat Food due to Salmonella Contamination


EGG-NEWS has previously commented on the trend towards feeding domestic pets with raw food. GoRaw of Cottonwood, UT has recalled bags of Quest™ cat food containing raw beef. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified Salmonella in a sample on routine surveillance. In contrast the company was apparently unable to detect Salmonella using their own assay.

It is evident that cats or dogs consuming the Quest™ frozen food would in all probability have become colonized with Salmonella resulting in intermittent shedding. This represents a hazard to other pets and members of the household including children. The further problem is that handling contaminated raw cat food in the kitchen could cross-contaminate with utensils, work surfaces and hands.

Raw pet food containing meat is not suitable for pets given the high probability of contamination with food-borne pathogens.


Welcome to Agricon as a Sponsor


Agricon is a prominent multinational supplier of prefabricated housing and components for the intensive livestock industry. The Company functioned for a number of decades as Betco until acquired by the Big Dutchman Group in 2017 as the construction component of their enterprise. Originally involved in international development with operations completed in 44 nations in Asia, Africa, Australasia and Latin America, Agricon has since completed poultry projects in Florida, Texas, Utah, California, Illinois and the Dakotas.

 The Company uses the most advanced designs and materials for superstructure and cladding and is prepared to supply expertise in design, project management, engineering, erection, coordination and commissioning. The association with Big Dutchman brings in the combined expertise of specialists in complementary areas including feeding equipment, waste handling, ventilation, process control and monitoring of environmental parameters.


Additional information and contacts can be accessed by clicking on to the Agricon logo on the right side of the Welcome page.






Scofflaw Amos Miller Closed by Court Order


Federal Judge Edward G. Smith has issued an order in response to a Department of Justice request for a civil injunction on behalf of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

At issue is the assertion by Miller that he and Miller’s Organic Farm located in Bird-In-Hand, PA. are exempt from Federal regulations relating to inspection of meat and milk as he operates as a private membership association.

The civil injunction enjoins Miller from operating as a non-Federally inspected producer of meat and poultry products.

Commenting on the order, William M. McSwain, U.S. Attorney stated “Food establishments in this district must follow Federal food safety laws that protect the public”. The Administrator of the FSIS, Carmen Rottenberg stressed that “Inspection is the cornerstone of our food safety regulatory system enabling consumers to purchase and prepare meat and poultry with confidence in the safety of these products”.

Miller has refused to allow access to his farm and plant by Federal officials and has engaged in litigation supported by a misdirected GoFundMe campaign, Miller has indicated that he will continue business under a custom-exempt plan. In accordance with the ruling, the court will retain jurisdiction and ensure compliance with relevant legislation including labeling requirements and adherence to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania food codes and licensing.

The Miller case is important since it establishes a precedent for state and Federal oversight over processing and production of food in the interest of public safety.


Impossible Foods Considering IPO


Impossible Foods Inc. is discussing with potential investors an infusion of between $300 million and $400 million for expansion. If successful, the fundraising initiative could position the company for an IPO in 2020 with a valuation of between $3 and $5 billion.

A spokesperson for impossible Foods commented “We need to consider every option for fueling our long-term growth. However, we have not announced any plans for timing regarding an IPO.”

Obviously, existing shareholders in Impossible Foods are aware of the meteoric rise in share value of Beyond Meat with a market capitalization of $4.8 billion, although having suffered a decline in recent months following the May IPO. A further consideration is the advent of numerous competitors’ products from multinationals including Nestle, Tyson Foods, Cargill and Maple Leaf Foods.


AEB Promote "Real Eggs" Seal




Boost the appeal of eggs on your menu with the new Made with REAL Eggs® seal, courtesy of the American Egg Board. The seal is ideal for use on menu boards, fresh prepared foods, and prepackaged grab n' go items. It quickly and positively communicates that menu items are made with U.S.-produced REAL eggs and REAL egg ingredients.




Harvest Report for the Past Week


The December 2nd USDA Crop Progress Report documents continued but slow advances in harvesting the 2019 crop delayed by late planting due to flooding and inclement weather over the harvest period.


As of December 1st in 18 major corn-producing states responsible for 94 percent of the 2018 crop, 89 percent of the corn had been harvested. This compares to a five-year average of 968percent. During the past week 5 percent was gathered  consistent with the trend at the end of each harvest year.


Farmers harvested an additional 2 percent of the soybean crop this past week to bring the total in the bin to 96 percent compared to a five-year average of 99 percent.




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 with reports that show either no change or a significant increase in the cage-free flock for a specific month. It is questioned whether it would not be more informative to post accurate quarterly data in place of questionable monthly figures.

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 November 2019 released on December 2nd documented a 0.6 percent increase in hens producing under the Certified Organic seal. The National cage-free flock increased by 0.7 percent. (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 increased to 76.3 percent for both categories of non-caged hens reflecting younger flocks placed to mature for the Christmas market.

Flock size 2019 November October

(million hens) 2019 2019



June through August







Certified Organic 16.2 16.1






Cage-free hens 54.6 54.2






Total non-caged 70.8 70.3







Average weekly production cases, October 2019

Certified Organic

240,580 (237,309 Oct.)


809,417 (798,439 Oct.)

Total non-caged

1,049,997 (1,35,748 Oct)

Average Wholesale Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.53/doz. ($1.53 in September and October)


$1.17 to $2.10/doz.

FOB Negotiated price, grade quality nest-run, loose

Price range $1.17 to $1.26 per dozen

Average Value of $1.21/doz. (was $0.93 Oct.)

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

$2.67/doz. (was $2.68 Oct. 2019)

USDA 6-Regions

High: NE

$3.05/doz. $3.15 (NE.)


Low: MW

$2.45/doz. $2.41 (SC.)

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.


Position Openings with Hendrix-Genetics


As a service to Sponsors and Subscribers CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will post job opportunity notices for employers and for those seeking positions at no charge. Remit details to <>


Hendrix-Genetics has openings for Key Accounts Sales Managers for the West Coast and the Southeast Regions of the U.S.

The positions involve technical and sales support to the U.S. egg producers.

View Job descriptions using the links below:


Key Account Sales Manager – Southeast


Key Account Sales Manager – West Coast



For additional information contact


Kroger to Install Hydroponic Produce Modules


The Kroger Company has entered into a strategic partnership with Infarm to install modular hydroponic units to grow produce. Suzy Monford, Vice-president of Fresh for Kroger stated, “Our partnership with Infarm allows us to innovate by combining ground-breaking in-store farming technology with our passion for fresh, local produce and ecological sourcing.” The question remains as to whether this is a carefully researched project accretive to earnings or yet another diversion into technology.


Kroger is encountering criticism for deviating from their core function in the face of competition with consequentially anemic growth in same-store sales and net earnings. Accordingly Kroger has announced that it will slow the program of refurbishing stores and is cutting expenses by retrenching staff at the store level.

Chief Executive, Rodney McMullen stated, “It took us too long to do it, we put too many things on our stores to execute.”  The Ocado Group distribution centers will represent heavy demand for capital although efficiencies may relate to improved bottom-line performance.  Other innovations that may be less productive include driverless delivery in cooperation with Nuro Inc. and Home Chef, a recently purchased meal kit company.


Kroger estimates that it has saved $1 billion in annual cost in each of the last two years through economies and possibly at the expense of same store sales.  Kroger posted a 2.2 percent increase during the most recent quarter compared to 3.4 percent at Walmart and 4.5 percent at Target.


The Omnia PX180 Ml Loader


With the introduction of the Omnia PX series, Moba set a new standard in the industry with regard to three important goals for egg producers: efficiency, hygiene and food safety.

With customers need for a complete range of products in mind, Moba introduced the Omnia PX180 in 2018.

The grader now comes with a brand new loader that meets the requirements of today’s market.

For more information access the MOBA website by clicking on to the MOBA logo on the right side of the Welcome page.


AEB Completes Mexico Egg Seminar Series


The fourth and final in a series of AEB-sponsored egg product applications seminars in Mexico was held last week with about 50 attendees. The “everything-about-eggs” learning event in Monterrey City targeted food processing, foodservice, food science and culinary students. 


Hendrix-Genetics Advances Flock Welfare Through Sensing and AI Technology


As a leading primary breeding company Hendrix-Genetics is responding to consumer demands to improve flock welfare. Advances in vision sensing and artificial intelligence offer an opportunity to develop new methods to remotely monitor and analyze flock behavior. An improved understanding of social interactions between egg-laying strains under commercial housing systems will result in a reduction in harmful behavior including aggression and smothering.

To address these issues, Hendrix-Genetics has joined the IMAGEN Group project. By combining sensing and AI technology with animal breeding and genetics, this project aims to improve the health and welfare of livestock and reduce the environmental impact of intensive egg production.

IMAGEN combines a team of industry and academic specialists comprising:-

  • Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University and Utrecht University
  • The Dutch Farmers’ Association, the Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association, and the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals
  • Hendrix Genetics, Topigs-Norsvin, Vencomatic, Noldus IT, Sorama, and FarmResult

Hendrix Genetics will be closely involved in one of the sub-projects focused on behavioral interactions in laying hens. The project will span five years and contain three main tasks:

  • developing sensing and AI technologies for remote observation of behavior in laying hens
  • research on the emergence and spread of specific behaviors in laying hens
  • genetic modeling of the emergence and spread of behaviors in laying hens

The IMAGEN cooperation will develop prototype hardware and software system for the automated detection of behaviors of laying hens in large groups. Building on the data generated by these technologies, it will be possible to develop mathematical models and identify the genetic and environmental factors determining the health, productivity and welfare of flocks.

By working together with a range of experts and stakeholders Hendrix-Genetics is proud to be a part of an ambitious venture to maximize health and welfare of egg-production flocks.


World Food Prize Foundation Appoints New President


Barbara Stinson will succeed Kenneth Quinn as the retiring president of the World Food Prize Foundation after a 20-year term.

The World Food Prize Foundation recognizes leading agriculture scientists who have made contributions to alleviation of hunger. The prize valued at $250,000 commemorates the contributions of Dr. Norman Borlaug, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 and numerous U.S. and international awards. He is regarded of the father of the “green revolution” through his seminal work on improving varieties of wheat.

The World Food Prize Foundation was established by John Ruan, an Iowan entrepreneur. His civic philanthropy is continued by his son, John Ruan, III the present Chairman of the Foundation.  Currently 80 corporate, private and government donors contribute to the Foundation. The annual awards ceremony attracts 1,200 attendees from 65 nations and incorporates a symposium to address global food security and nutrition.


Influence of Private Label Brands


According to a November 13th Institute of Feed Technologists newsletter, the Food Marketing Institute in cooperation with IRI confirmed that nearly half of consumers agree that store brands influence their choice of retailer. An increase from 35 percent affirming the influence of store brands in 2016 to 46 percent was recorded in the most recent survey. A report on store brands entitled The Power of Private Brands:  From the Consumer analysed trends and predicts the growth of private brands across categories and channels.

Doug Baker, Vice President for Industry Relations for FMI stated “The solid growth of private brands reflects the success of retailers treating private brands as brands rather than just following the lead of national and legacy brands”. He added “The proof is in consumer satisfaction. Shoppers surveyed shared most that they trust the quality of private brands and believe they get a good value.”

For the second consecutive year, private brands achieved a 5.4 percent increase in value of sales across multiple retail outlets. Mark McKeown of IRI commented “Consumers have shown that they are willing to embrace new directions in their private brand strategies which suggest myriad possibilities for retailers as they explore shopper preferences as revealed in our research”.


AI Disseminated By Migratory Birds


A recent study* on H6N5 avian influenza virus indicated that migratory birds are responsible for bidirectional dissemination of avian influenza virus between North America and Eurasia. This conclusion was based on phylogenetic analysis of avian influenza viruses derived from wild bird feces in Korea. A number of species including Northern Pintails migrate across the Bering Strait from North America to Asia. Migratory flyways overlap over western Alaska.

The study involved assay of approximately 4,400 fecal samples collected in bird habitats in the Gimpo area of South Korea with a small proportion yielding H6N5 virus. The gene sequence assay showed that all eight segments were similar to sequences of AIV isolated from North American birds during 2016 and 2017. These were different from Eurasian isolates suggesting introduction of the H6N5 strain by migratory anseriformes from North America.

*Jeong, S. et al. Introduction of Avian Influenza (H6N5) virus into Asia from North America by wild birds. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 25:2138-2140 (2019)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)





Economic Work Conference Convened in China Presages Phase-1 Agreement


The Economic Work Conference that meets annually in mid-to late-December to establish the economic agenda for the following year will convene early in 2019. This is considered noteworthy and may be in advance of the December 15th deadline for the U.S. to raise tariffs on imports from China.


Observers consider that a “recommendation” from the arbiters of economic policy will provide Premier Xi Jinping with the cover needed to make some concessions leading to a Phase-1 Agreement with the U.S. At this time any agreement, long-promised by the White House, would benefit the President in his reelection campaign, especially if it involves substantial sales of agricultural commodities. Premier Xi Jinpeng would benefit from one less factor affecting social and political stability given the situation in Hong Kong and both declining GDP and industrial profits.


Egg Week


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, November 27th 2019.

  • Hen numbers in production up 1.7 million to 333.6 million .
  • Shell inventory down 3.0 percent after a 3.6 percent drop in previous week
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra large and Large up 6.2 and 6.3 percent respectively to 153.5 and 151.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were unchanged at 94.5 cents per dozen. An increase in USDA benchmark price for the fourth consecutive week confirms that prices are moving up from a prolonged 8-month depressed market. Midwest prices for all sizes are now above nest-run production cost.
  • Price of breaking stock unchanged at 77.0 cents per dozen. Checks unchanged at 63.0 cents per dozen reflecting shell-egg prices. Both categories are now above the cost of production



According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on November 25th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large as delivered to DCs were 6.2 and 6.3 percent higher at 153.5 and 151.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were unchanged at 94.5 cents per dozen reflecting availability. Prices were above the USDA average 5-Region blended nest-run benchmark of 60.2 cents per dozen in October, excluding provisions for packing and transport. The progression of prices during 2019 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The November 25th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 47) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.51 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending November 20th. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.43 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.57 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately $0.02 per dozen below the three-year average and $0.14 per dozen above the price during the corresponding week in 2018.

Flock Size

According to the USDA the number of producing hens this week was up 1.7 million to 333.6 million. The hen population is more than adequate to meet seasonal consumer and industrial demand in late November but any number above 330 million in production over the short term transitioning to December, portends lower than average prices and increased inventory unless matched by proportional demand that is currently apparent. The total U.S. egg-flock comprised 339.3 million hens including second-cycle birds and those in molt on all farms. The difference of 5.7 million hens in production and total hens is equivalent to 1.7 percent (2.0 percent last week) of the national flock, down from a YTD high of 2.4 percent in mid-June. This suggests that there are fewer pullet flocks to commence production and possibly less molted flocks scheduled to come back into production. This has implications for price, given current supply, stock level and seasonally moderate to rising demand. The higher average weekly production and static price for Mediums is attributed to young pullets placed for seasonal sales that have entered production.


Generic shell-egg stock was down 3.0 percent to 1,409,600 cases. To maintain prices the market, will have to find a balance between supply and demand as the Industry moves through the fourth quarter of 2019, Seasonally the eleventh month of the year is characterized by increasing flock size and fluctuating prices but trending higher, depending on supply.

The National stock of frozen egg products as reported by the USDA on November 22nd 2019 attained 33.6 million pounds (15,290 metric tons) on October 31st 2019

Dried-egg inventory reported on November 8th decreased by 0.6 percent during October 2019 to 22.66 million lbs. (10,300 metric tons) on October 31st 2019, (was 22.81 million lbs. on September 30 th 2019).


Cold Storage

Cold storage stocks in selected regions on November 25 th amounted to 2.537 million pounds (1,153 metric tons) of frozen egg products, down 2.0 percent from the level of 2.689 million lbs. on November 1st 2019.

The most recent monthly USDA Cold Storage Report released on November 22nd documented a total stock of 33.6 million pounds (15,290 metric tons) of frozen egg products on October 31st 2019. This value was up 11.1 percent from October 31st 2018. A total of 90.8 percent of combined inventory comprised the categories of "Whole and Mixed" (50.0 percent) and "Unclassified" (40.8 percent). The lack of specificity in classification suggests a more diligent approach is required to enumerate and report inventory by the USDA.

Shell Inventory

The national stock of generic shell eggs reflecting November 25 th 2019 was down 3.0 percent from the past week, following a decrease of 3.6 percent for the previous week and an increase of 3.3 percent during the preceding week. Small fluctuation in weekly stock levels suggests that the market is now in balance relative to increased supply. Old flocks continue to be molted and have not been depleted. Hen numbers are still too high moving into winter but are following seasonal trends. Availability of shell eggs has increased over past months from the contribution of newly transferred pullets and molted hens coming back into production. In addition pullet chicks placed during early to mid-July 2019 are now producing a disproportionate number of medium sized eggs as denoted by the price for this size although demand for the category from food service has increased.

Three USDA Regions reported lower stock levels. The Midwest Region was down by 9.1 percent compared to the previous week to 438,100 cases. This region was followed in decreasing order of stock level by the Southeast Region, down 1.6 percent to 261,400 cases; the South Central Region up 3.3 percent to 234,700 cases; the Southwest Region up 4.2 percent to 194,000 cases; the Northeast Region down 8.3 percent to 167,300 cases and the Northwest Region up 3.5 percent 114,100 cases.

The total of the USDA six-area stock of commodity eggs comprised 1,715,100 cases, of which 82.2 percent were shell eggs. The inventory of breaking stock was up 2.5 percent to 305,500 cases consistent with the trend in shell-egg price in recent weeks. The value of breaking stock and hence availability from both mature and young flocks will be influenced by the demand for generic shell eggs and contract obligations with breakers.

As of Monday November 25th 2019 the inventory of other than generic eggs (with previous week in parentheses) comprised:-

· Specialty category, up 1.2 percent to 40,200 cases. (was up 4.2% to 39,700 cases)

· Certified Organic, down 2.7 percent to 132,000 cases. (was down 0.5% to 135,600 cases)

· Cage-Free, down 1.7 percent to 122,700 cases. (was down 3.2% to 124,800 cases)

There were firm indications from equipment manufacturers and builders and evidenced by interest at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention during the first quarter, that expansion is either planned or is in progress despite low prices from April through early November. It is estimated that orders for 7 million to 10 million hen places have been signed, mainly for aviaries, despite the reality that wholesale prices for generic cage-derived eggs were below production cost for the past seven successive months. Whether this proposed volume will be housed according to plan or delayed, is a matter or conjecture. One of two proposed large aviary complexes representing 2 million hens in Ohio is apparently going forward pending permits. A second complex for three million hens in Wisconsin has applied for permits in anticipation of a rise in demand for cage-free eggs.

The projected increase in cage-free flocks is supported by quarterly USDA statistics, the November 6th 2018 passage of California Proposition #12 and subsequent corresponding legislation by Oregon and Washington States. The Supreme Court declined to consider the multi-state challenge to California Proposition #2 and the Massachusetts ballot outcomes.

The Fourth Quarter financial report for FY 2019 from Cal-Maine released on July 22nd indicated that the company would house an additional 6.0 million hens in cage-free systems representing replacement of existing flocks and new facilities, requiring conversions and erection of housing and packing plants to the value of $187 million. Projects with a capital cost of $167 million might be completed through February 2020. The 1 st Quarter report for FY 2020 posted by Cal-Maine Foods on September 30th noted progress on projects initiated. The Q1 FY 2020 report posting a substantial loss, implied restraint in conversion to cage free going forward. It is evident that there is overproduction of cage-free eggs based on the differences between Nielsen sales data and the average weekly figures posted by the USDA in the Monthly Cage Free Report indicating that a proportion of cage-free and organic eggs produced are currently either downgraded or sent to breakers

Demand for cage-free eggs is influenced by the relative shelf prices of the category in comparison with generic white-shelled eggs from caged flocks. At the other end of the price range, consumers will purchase less-expensive brown cage-free product over organic eggs when there is a differential in price greater than about $1.20 per dozen. Similarly, consumers purchase white-shelled generic eggs in preference to brown-shelled cage-free with a differential of over $1.20 per dozen. The need for structured statistically relevant market research on the willingness to pay for attributes such as housing, GM status and nutritional enrichment is self-evident.


The following advertised retail prices for the week ending November 28 th 2019, (compared with the previous week in parentheses) were posted by the AMS on November 25th for dozen packs:

· USDA Certified Organic, Brown, Large: $3.85 ($3.64)

· Cage-Free Brown, Large: $2.55 ($2.79)

· Omega-3 Enriched Specialty, White, Large: $2.29 ($2.43)

  • Generic White, Large Grade AA $1.00 ($1.07)

· Generic White, Large Grade A (Feature price) $1.06 ($1.09)

The retail price as determined by the USDA-AMS for generic white Large AA last week was down $0.07 per dozen to $1.00 although the decrease in price will not materially influence rising seasonal demand. Relatively stable to declining stock levels and a welcome three-week rise from the apparent market bottom suggests a firming of prices in the near term if demand responds to lower prices of generics and other categories.

During the present week the USDA benchmark-advertised retail price of brown Cage-Free fell by 8.6 percent or $0.24 per dozen to $2.55 per dozen. Certified Organic rose by 5.8 percent or $0.21 per dozen to $3.85 per dozen widening the advertised price differential to $1.30 per dozen ($0.85 per dozen last week) suggesting a higher demand for certified organic over cage-free brown. The differential between advertised retail prices for generic white Large and cage-free brown was $0.97 per dozen ($1.72 per dozen last week) suggesting more demand for cage-free brown over generic white. Preference for generic white over cage-free brown is evident with a price differential greater than $1.20 per dozen. Large week-to-week percentage fluctuations can be expected in the stock of specialty and organic eggs based on the small base of these categories.

USDA Cage-Free Data

According to the latest monthly USDA Cage-free Hen Report released November 5th 2019 the number of cage-free hens in October increased by 2.6 percent. The population of hens producing cage-free and certified organic eggs increased in October as follows:-

Total U.S. flock held for USDA Certified Organic production = 16.1 million (15.8 million May to Sept.).

Total U.S. flock held for cage-free production = 54.2 million (52.7 million Sept.).

Total U.S. non-caged flock = 70.3 million (68.5 million Sept.).

This total value represents 21.3 percent of a nominal 330 million U.S. flock but 31.5 percent of a presumed flock of 223 million producing for the shell-egg market.

Processed Eggs

For the processing week ending November 23rd 2019 the quantity of eggs processed under FSIS inspection as reported on November 27 th was down by 0.5 percent compared to the previous week to a level of 1,552,245 cases. The proportion of eggs broken by in-line complexes was 57.7 percent (was 58.1 percent last week). With higher prices for shell eggs there is a trend to divert non-contracted eggs from breaking to shell-egg sales. During the corresponding processing week in 2018 in-line breakers processed 53.2 percent of eggs broken.

For the monthly report dated November 13th edible yield for the period September 29th through November 2nd from 8,239,525 cases was 38.5 percent, distributed in the following proportions expressed as percentages:- liquid whole, 53.5; white, 24.4; yolk 12.1; dried, 5.0.

All eggs broken YTD 2019 attained 75.05 million cases, 3.9 percent more than the corresponding period during 2018. The difference is in part due to significantly higher prevailing shell-egg prices in 2018 favoring shell sales.


Breaking Stock

The price range for breaking stock delivered to Central States plants was unchanged over a range of 76 to 78 cents per dozen. Checks were unchanged over a range of 61 to 65 cents per dozen. The revenue for both breaking stock and checks was higher than the benchmark production cost for nest-run, estimated by the USDA at 60.2 cents per dozen during October 2019.

Shell Eggs

The USDA Egg Market News Report released on November 25 th documented an approximately 9 cent per dozen increase in Midwest prices for Extra Large and Large. The following table lists the "most frequent" ranges of values as delivered to warehouses*:-


Current Week

Previous Week

Extra Large

152-155 cents per dozen

143-146 up 6.2%


150-153 cents per dozen

141-144 up 6.3%


93-96 cents per dozen


Certified Organic EL

275-310 cents per dozen

Unchanged long term

Breaking stock

76-78 cents per dozen



61-65 cents per dozen


*Store Delivery approximately 5 cents per dozen more than warehouse price

The November 25th 2019 Regional (IA, WI, MN.) average FOB producer prices, for nest-run grade-quality white shelled eggs, with prices in rounded cents per dozen (last week in parentheses) were:-

EL. $1.36 ($1.31) estimated by proportion: L. $1.34 ($1.29): M. $0.70 ($0.75)

(See the text, tables and figures and the review of production data and prices comprising the November report on USDA October 2019 costs and 1 st Quarter financial results posted by Cal-Maine Foods under the statistics TAB.)

Shell-Egg Demand Indicator

The USDA-AMS Shell Egg Demand Indicator for November 27th 2019 was numerically higher by 6.1 points from the last weekly report to +9.4 with a 3.0 percent lower inventory from the past week as determined by the USDA-ERS as follows:-

Productive flock

333,574,333 million hens

Average hen week production

82.3% (was 81.1%)

Average egg production

274,531,676 million per day

Proportion to shell egg market

70.9% (was 70.2%)

Total for in-shell consumption

540,679 cases per day

USDA Inventory

1,409,600 cases

26-week rolling average inventory

4.67 days

Actual inventory on hand

4.27 days

Shell Egg Demand Indicator

+9.4 points (was +3.3 points on November 20th )

Dried Egg Products

Prices for dried egg products (most frequent price with a range in $ per pound) effective November 25th 2019 were:-


Whole Egg






Spray-Dried White





No new quotation

U.S. dried egg inventory on October 31st 2019, as reported on November 8th 2019 was 26 percent lower than on October 31 st 2018 attaining 22.66 million lbs. (10,300 metric tons), equivalent to approximately 1.6-weeks current production. Inventory was 0.7 percent lower compared to September 30th 2019. During the period September 29th 2019 through November 2nd 2019, dried egg processed under USDA inspection amounted to 13.45 million lbs. Lower shell-egg prices during the past three months diverted non-contracted eggs from packing to breaking.

The October 31st total dried egg inventory comprised whole egg (43.9%); albumen (22.8%); yolk (31.2%) and blends (2.0%).


Newcastle Disease

The incidence rate of Newcastle disease in Southern California declined over the past three months and no cases were diagnosed for eight consecutive weeks. A case was reported from a feed store on August 14 th followed by a spontaneous case in a vaccine-production flock in San Diego County on August 31st and then in a backyard flock on September 9th. Two new cases were diagnosed on adjacent backyard farms in San Bernardino County on November 14th and 20 th with an additional case in a feed supply store also on November 20th. To declare the 2018 - 2019 outbreak officially over will require 13 weeks from depletion of the last diagnosed case. Given experience with Newcastle disease in small flocks in a given area it is inevitable that incident cases will emerge from either introduction from Mexico or extension from unrecognized reservoirs in California. Investigation of the current incident cases is in progress and it is hoped that greater transparency and disclosure will be forthcoming than in past months. The progress of the outbreak was as follows:-

A total of 454 exotic velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND = END) cases in small multi-species backyard flocks mainly comprising gamefowl (fighting cocks) were confirmed between May 18th and November 22nd in the Southern California Counties of San Bernardino (146), Riverside (260), Los Angeles (45), Ventura (1), (San Diego (1) and Alameda (1). Pre-emptive slaughter of all "birds" (presumed to be domestic galliformes and some anseriforms) in four communities in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties was conducted under the direction of the State Veterinarian for California in November 2018. This probably resulted in dissemination of infection by owners moving birds. A case of vvND was diagnosed in a flock of non-commercial chickens, presumed to be fighting cocks in Utah County, UT on January 18th.

A surge of incident cases was detected in Riverside County during mid-December 2018 with 43 incident cases diagnosed during the month. There were 86 new cases in January 2019, 48 in February, 22 during March, 17 in April, 20 in May and 1 in early June. In late March the USDA released funds from the 2015 HPAI outbreak but this may be characterized as too-little and too-late after 13 months. The decline in incidence rate is less attributed to the "control procedures" carried out by APHIS/CDFA than to immunity developing in flocks from vaccination and exposure of vaccinated flocks that will remain non-clinically affected reservoirs shedding virus in a cycle of exposure. Clearly many flocks are not identified or diagnosed given the relationship of owners of fighting cocks to federal and state agencies.

The END situation has not disrupted exports of raw poultry, breeding stock, hatching or table eggs or egg products to Mexico. Following negotiations after the index case of END was diagnosed in Los Angeles County during mid-May 2018, authorities in Mexico accepted regionalization and on May 23 rd restored importation of raw poultry from other than the restricted Counties in California. There is absolutely no reason to embargo pasteurized egg products derived from a USDA-FSIS inspected plant.

Avian Influenza

In the U.S. and the E.U. reassortant strains of avian influenza virus are introduced into regions beneath flyways by migratory birds and then transmitted to backyard and commercial free-range flocks or to confined flocks by deficiencies in biosecurity. Incident cases in the E.U., Asia and North Africa during 2018 should be a warning to U.S. producers during the fall and early winter of 2019 since the risk of infection necessitates enhanced biosecurity and effective containment.

There is a presumption that migratory waterfowl cease shedding AI virus by the first week of April, re-commencing in December. Accordingly, incresased biosecurity is required under the Pacific, Central and Mississippi flyways. Flocks allowed outside access during periods when migratory birds are shedding virus are vulnerable to infection.


$1 Million Awarded to Researchers for Gender Determination


Scientists in the U.S. and the EU are sharing $1 million representing the Egg-Tech prize for research on gender determination of embryos. Grants awarded to six research groups will be supplemented by matching funds from private investors and their institutions. 


Technology to be applied will include reaction mass spectrometry, assay of volatile organic compounds, magnetic resonance imaging, and the application of artificial intelligence. 


Institutions receiving funding include the University of Minnesota, the University of Leuven in Belgium, two commercial companies and a team at the USDA-ARS.


K-9 Hero Act Introduced into Congress


Representative Ron Wright (R-TX) has introduced the K-9 Hero Act into the House. The bill is intended to create a grant program to assist non-profits that provide homes for retired military and law enforcement dogs and will in addition provide financial assistance to owners for medical expenses.

The contribution of working dogs in the military was highlighted by the recent critical action in Syria in which a military dog, a veteran of numerous missions was injured.

We have a moral obligation to care for retired military and law enforcement dogs in the same way that we provide for members of the military and first responders. Given the value of military dogs in averting injury and death among our forces and reducing expenditure of resources by the Veterans Administration, the least we can do is care for our canines after they are no longer active.

The American Humane Society has operated programs placing retired dogs with discharged veterans to their mutual benefit. The K-9 Hero Act will extend this worthy initiative.


Post Holdings Q4 Results Obscure Financial Performance of Michael Foods


The Q4 results for Post Holdings (POST) released on November 21st did not reveal details of the financial performance of subsidiary Michael Foods acquired in 2014 for $2.45 billion. Sales and operating profit of the egg production and processing activities are now assigned to the Refrigerated and Foodservice Segments respectively in common with other food items.

For the 4th Quarter ended September 30th POST recorded a loss of $61 million on total company sales of $1.44 billion with an EPS of $(0.84). For the corresponding Q4 of FY 2018 POST lost $18 million on sales of $1.63 billion with an EPS of $(0.26)


The Foodservice Segment includes egg products and potatoes. Operating profit was $40 million on sales of $417 million.


The Refrigerated Segment, including eggs and prepared foods yielded an operating profit of $22.3 on sales of $219 million.


POST recorded a 4th Quarter charge of $14.6 million on the AllWhites Brand that is now to be marketed as Bob Evans Egg Whites



Harvest Report for the Past Week


The November 25th USDA Crop Progress Report documents continued advances in harvesting the 2019 crop delayed by late planting due to flooding and inclement weather over the harvest period.


As of November 24th in 18 major corn-producing states responsible for 94 percent of the 2018 crop, 84 percent of the corn had been harvested. This compares to a five-year average of 96 percent. During the past week 8 percent was gathered.


Farmers harvested an additional 3 percent of the soybean crop this past week to bring the total in the bin to 94 percent compared to a five-year average of 97 percent.



Midwest Poultry Federation Announces Registration and Hotel Reservation Date for 2020 Midwest Exhibition


Registration and hotel reservations will open December 5 for the 2020 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention and Exhibition which will take place March 17-19, 2020 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Activities will include:


  • The pre-show nutrition and poultry health symposium Tuesday March 17


  • The MPF welcome reception on Tuesday March 17


  • Education programs for turkeys, egg layers, broilers and processing on Wednesday March 18 and Thursday March 19


  • The exhibition hall will be open 10H00 to 17H00 Wednesday March 18 and 09H00 to Noon on Thursday March 19.


MPF president Greg Nelson noted, “We are excited to reimagine our opening night of the 2020 MPF convention which will include our poplar welcome reception at the Minneapolis Convention Center.”


Concurrent events include the North Central Avian Diseases Conference March 16 & 17 and the Organic Egg Farmers of America Symposium on March 17.


Further information is available at


Contacts for MPF are telephone 763-284-6763 and P.O. Box 265, Buffalo MN 55313.


MPF reported 3,100 attendees and exhibits at the 2018 MPF convention.


Promotion of U.S. Products in South Korea


USAPEEC-Korea and the American Egg Board participated in the 2019 Seoul Cafe´ Show at COEX in Seoul. Demonstrations of U.S. chicken and turkey products including sausages, hams, corn dogs and egg products demonstrated incorporation into food service and bakery operations. New menu items were featured on the USAPEEC and AEB booths.

More than 165,000 registrants from 80 countries attended the show, and over 3,000 visited the USAPEEC and AEB booths to become acquainted with U.S. poultry and egg products and to sample menu items.



USDA Distributes MFP Funds


The November installment of the 2019 Market Facilitation Program has been released. The current round includes 25 percent of the total payment expected, adding to the 50 percent already distributed.

Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sonny Perdue noted “The second tranche of 2019 MFP payment, along with already provided disaster assistance will give farmers who have had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters much needed funds in time for Thanksgiving”.


Canola Harvest Impacted on Canadian Prairies


Millions of acres of canola in Canada are currently buried under heavy snowfall and a proportion of the 2019 crop will only be harvested in early spring 2020.  The unseasonal snowfall will diminish the size of the current canola crop of which a high portion is exported for vegetable oil and animal feed. 


In addition to weather problems impacting Canadian farmers, exports ceased in March when Beijing revoked the license of Richardson International and Viterra Inc. a subsidiary of Glencorp PLC claiming irregularities in documentation.  It is presumed that the action taken by China was in retribution for the detention of the CFO of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the company founder and Chairman.


Position Opening with Gi-Ovo


As a service to Sponsors and Subscribers CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will post job opportunity notices for employers and for those seeking positions at no charge. Remit details to <>


GI-OVO a subsidiary of Giordano Holdings is recruiting a Sales Manager for North America to market and sell the EggsCargoSystem®. The position requires familiarity and contacts with egg-packing and hatchery operations in the egg, broiler and turkey industries and a proven record of performance.


The position is offered as either a full-time appointment or as a part-time position for an established sales professional promoting a non-competing product line.


Applicants should submit a CV and letter of intent to Jacco Wagelaar, General Manager at





Corn and soybean trading reflected lower prices this past week attributed to:-


  • Declining optimism over the non-documented outcome of the October 10/11th Ministerial-level trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. No specific date or venue has been set for signing a "Phase 1" agreement and the parties have not reached an understanding on tariff rescission or structural issues.
  • Prospects of exports of soybeans to China are dampened by the absence of specific details on quantities and prices or an expressed commitment from state-controlled brokers in China.


Uncertainties still exist:-


  • Traders are responding to the rate of harvesting and yields of both corn and soybeans and the effect of recent bouts of severe weather in the upper Midwest.
  • Brexit and the U.S. relationship with the U.K and the E.U.
  • Unpredictable political situation delaying ratification of the USMCA possibly until early 2020.


Compared with close of trading on November 15th the quotation posted for November 22nd trading for December corn was down 0.8 percent or 3 cents per bushel. The January 2020 soybean quotation, vulnerable to trade conflicts with China was down 2.4 percent or 22 cents per bushel. According to the White House, the October 11th negotiations apparently elicited an intention by China to import U.S. agricultural commodities valued at $40 to $50 billion over a non-disclosed time period. This "commitment" was subsequently refuted by the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing. To date no substantial deliveries have been made. January 2020 soybean meal was down 2.6 percent from the November 15th quotation.



Egg Product Buyers’ Guide


The American Egg Board  (AEB) has highlighted the value of the Egg Product Buyers’

Guide in facilitating the sale of egg products. The Guide provides contacts for suppliers,

details on packaging and nutrient values.

The Guide can be downloaded from


Michigan Animal Health Bill Enacted


Previously EGG-NEWS commented on the proposed Michigan bill mandating other than cage housing for hens producing eggs to be marketed in the State. SB 0174 was adopted following approval in both chambers and the signature of the Governor.  The Act is a comprehensive revision of existing animal disease control measures for all species with welfare aspects added in the update.


The Act defines “animal welfare”, and establishes operating restrictions for interstate movement, live-bird markets, poultry slaughter and housing of flocks.


With respect to egg-producing hens the Act describes permitted housing systems including floor and aviary modules with standards conforming to UEP parameters. Conventional cages and various iterations of enriched colony cages are specifically excluded. An exemption for flocks under 3,000 hens was incorporated into the Act to permit small-scale production


It will be illegal after 2124 to knowingly or otherwise sell eggs in Michigan from other than approved housing systems.


The welfare and housing requirements stipulated for Michigan follow similar legislation enacted in California, Massachusetts, Washington and Oregon


Soybean Prices Depressed by Inaction on Phase-1 Agreement with China


With the China-U.S. trade negotiations seemingly encountering interminable delays soybean prices are declining. The CME January value at close of trading on Thursday 21st was down 1.9 percent to 901 cents per bushel compared with 918 cents per bushel on November 15th

December soybean meal was down 2.0 percent to $301 per ton compared to $307 on November 15th


The decline in price is attributed to uncertainty over resolution of the prolonged trade dispute with China that has not imported significant quantities of soybeans since early 2018.




Status of USMCA

Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) met with U.S. Trade Representative Amb. Robert Lighthizer in an attempt to finalize the U.S. position on the USMCA that has yet to be approved by the Legislatures of The U.S. and Canada.

 The Speaker is demanding strengthened enforcement provisions to protect workers’ rights. The House leadership is encountering criticism fro the Senate that is ready to approve the Agreement.


Even if the outstanding issues can be resolved to the satisfaction of House Democrats prospects of ratification in 2019 appear dim. An agreement in principle would have to be drafted and evaluated for budgetary effect and pass through committees and be voted on. This implies an early 2020 vote. Any changes from the September 2018 agreement would also have to be acceptable to both Mexico and Canada.





Target Reports on Q3 of FY 2019


In a press release dated November 20th Target Corporation (TGT) announced results for the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal 2019 ending November 2nd

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 $ x 1,000 except EPS)

3rd Quarter Ending

Nov. 2nd 2019

Nov. 3rd 2018

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization



52-Week Range in Share Price: $60.15 to $127.99. 50-day moving average $110.57

Market Close Tuesday 19th, $110.34.

Market Close Wednesday 20th, post-release $126.46

Forward P/E 18.8 Beta 0.5

Sales growth attained 4.5 percent compared with Q3 FY 2018. Brick and Mortar increased 2.8 and digital 1.7 percent respectively.

Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target, said "The Target team did an excellent job serving our guests and executing our strategy throughout the third quarter. Our third quarter results are further proof of the durability of our strategy, as we're seeing industry-leading strength across multiple metrics, from the top line to the bottom line. Looking ahead, we have ushered in the holiday season with an unwavering commitment to guest service that complements our highly differentiated, value-driven assortment, our exceptional in-store shopping experience as well as an unmatched suite of easy and convenient fulfillment options."


NPIP Recruiting for Open Positions


The National Poultry Improvement Program has two vacant positions:-

· NPIP Laboratory Coordinator: Application Period November 21-27, 2019

· NPIP Compartmentalization Coordinator: Application Period November 26, 2019


Interested candidates can obtain details including salary scale, job description and qualifications from the respective web postings below:-


< > .

NPIP Compartmentalization Coordinator.

< >.

It is strongly suggested that prospective applicants should contact Dr. Elena Behnke, without delay given the short duration of the application period. Contacts for Dr. Behnke are noted below:-


Elena Behnke, DVM, MAHM, DACPV

Senior Coordinator

National Poultry Improvement Plan


1506 Klondike Road SW, Suite 101

Conyers, GA 30094

Office: 770-922-3496

Mobile: 404-360-4133

Fax: 770-922-3498



AEB Organizes Tour to Review Innovative Egg Servings


To spark creativity and encourage new egg use, AEB hosted leaders from QSRs and food manufacturers together with egg farmers, on a tour of Chicago to observe trends in innovation in serving eggs. The daylong immersion included stops at multiple restaurants to experience and taste and presentation of novel menu items.


Easterbrook Resigns from Walmart Board


Following his departure as president and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, Greg Easterbrook has resigned from the Board of Walmart Stores Inc. He joined the Board in 2018 and served on committees relating to management development and finance.


Cal-Maine Foods Donates to Canopy Children’s Solutions


In a November 5th release, Cal-Maine Foods announced donation of $100,000 to Canopy Children’s Solutions. The organization serves 5,000 children annually through the state of Mississippi’s largest non-profit committed to behavioral health education and social services. Dr. John D. Damon, CEO of Canopy stated “We are immeasurably grateful to have Cal-Maine Foods as a transformational partner. They see beyond the statistics and visualize the kids that these numbers represent. Thanks to their generosity, the future of Mississippi’s children and families is brighter.”

Dolph Baker, Chairman and CEO of Cal-Maine Foods commented “We are very proud to support Canopy Children’s Solutions”. He added “They have a long-standing history of finding vital solutions for the most vulnerable children in our community. We recognize the critical need to continue their mission and we are pleased that our gift will help make a difference through expanded programs and innovative treatment options for more families in Mississippi.”


Research Needs and Priorities for Egg Production


The American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) conducted a survey of research needs and priorities by surveying the responses of practitioners, academics and industry-employed veterinarians. Research priorities based on 18 responses indicated the need for additional study of infectious bronchitis, coryza, colibacillosis and post-bacterin hepatitis.  Of specific concern was Delmarva/1639 infectious bronchitis virus responsible for False Layer Syndrome.

A noteworthy omission was any reference to avian influenza responsible for extensive losses and disruption of the industry in 2015. My how our memories are short!


AEB Represented at USFRA Annual Meeting


AEB President & CEO Anne Alonzo and Chair Emeritus Blair Van Zetten participated at the annual meeting of partner organization the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) this week in St Louis. Van Zetten was also re-elected as its Treasurer.


USFRA is comprised of more than 75 organizations whose mission is to co-create sustainable food systems connecting farmers, ranchers and food makers.


Research Demonstrates that Measles virus is Immunosuppressive in Children


Two research papers published in Science and in Science Immunology respectively demonstrated the immunosuppressive effect of measles virus in infected children. The studies were conducted at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in conjunction with pediatricians at Harvard University. The second study in the E.U. was conducted jointly by the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Amsterdam University in the Netherlands.  

The virus has a similar effect as infection bursal disease virus in chickens and hemorrhagic enteritis virus in turkeys.

Measles was responsible for as many as 110,000 deaths in 2017, mostly in children under five years of age predominantly in developing nations. The incidence of measles has risen sharply in the E.U. with 82,500 cases in 2018, 15 times as many as in 2016. The reason for the upsurge relates to the “anti-vax” movement. Withholding the MMR vaccine exposes children to measles, mumps and rubella with potentially serious complications. The studies failed to show any adverse effect of the MMR vaccine administered in accordance with current guidelines.

Vaccination when performed at an appropriate age and with approved safe and immunogenetic biologics will induce immunity. Whether dealing with a population of children, hogs or poultry, it is necessary to raise the level of immunity to prevent outbreaks of disease. Generally more than 90 percent of a large population with frequent interaction among individuals is required to attain “herd immunity”. It is unconscionable that certain ZIP Codes reflecting affluent residents should have vaccine compliance values considerably lower than areas in the Deep South of the U.S. where there is considerable poverty and less access to preventive medical resources including post-natal and pediatric care.


SE Diagnosed in Nursery School in Poland


A total of 192 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infection occurred in a nursery school in Sanok in Eastern Poland. The causal organism was isolated from 40 children and 20 members of the staff. Children represented 83 percent of the cases with the remainder adult caretakers. The presumed vehicle was a vegetable salad served and consumed on October 23rd. Cases were reported on October 24th and two days later, ten children required hospitalization. Currently the facility is undergoing decontamination.


Au Revoir Foie Gras


The New York City Council passed legislation on October 30th banning both the sale and serving of foie gras effective January 2022. Both coasts now bracket the U.S. following the prohibition in California.

There is no question that traditional production of foie gras by force-feeding ducks and geese confined to small cages is inhumane and reflects badly on the entire poultry industry.

India, Israel and the U.K. have banned the sale and production of foie gras. New York State is home to two production operations in Sullivan County with sales approaching $20 million annually.


Walmart Stores Reports on Q3 FY 2019


In a press release dated November 14th 2019 Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) announced results for the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal 2019 ending October 31st.


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 $ x 1,000 except EPS)


3rd Quarter Ending October 31st.



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:             




Pre-tax Income

Net Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:




           Return on Assets    (%)




           Return on Equity    (%)




           Operating Margin   (%)




           Profit Margin          (%)




Total Assets




Market Capitalization




52-Week Range in Share Price:  $85.78 to $125.38    

50-day moving average $118.72

Market 14th 15H55 $120.52 (-0.4)

Forward P/E 23.3                  Beta 0.4

Q3 results include a $290 million charge for a subsidiary of Flipkart of India purchased for $16 billion in 2018 with proceeds from the sale of ADSA in the U.K.

Q3 2019 includes ‘Other” revenue of $244 million compared to an expense of $1.876 billion in Q3 2018.




Walmart beat on EPS by 7 cents and U.S. same store sales were 0.1 percent above consensus.

Walmart U.S attained same store sales growth of 3.2 percent compared with an estimate of 3.1 percent but down from 3.5 percent in Q3 FY 2018. Operating income was $4.2 billion on sales of $83.2 Billion (operating margin of 5.0 percent)

Walmart International attained same store sales growth of 1.3 percent (3.7 percent in China). Operating income was $0.7 billion on sales of $29.2 Billion (operating margin of 2.4 percent)

Sam’s Clubs attained same store sales growth of 0.6 percent. Operating income was $0.3 billion on sales of $14.6 Billion (operating margin of 2.1 percent)

E-Commerce advanced by 41 percent over Q3 2018. Walmart U.S now has 3,000 pick-up locations and 1,400 stores offering same-day delivery of groceries.


Wendy’s Reports on Q3 2019


In a November 6th press release, the Wendy’s Company (WEN) reported on the third quarter of fiscal 2019 ending September 29.  The company posted a net income of $46.1 million on total revenue of $437.8 million.  Of this total 41.5 percent was derived from sales in company-owned stores representing a gross margin of 16.2 percent.

For the corresponding third quarter of 2018 ending September 30th Wendy’s posted net income of $3.9 million on total revenue of $400.6 million with a gross margin for company stores of 15.7 percent. During the third quarter of 2018, Wendy’s charged a non-recurring “Other Income” item of $450 million accounting for the difference between quarters.

Wendy's Store Locations

Important financial parameters for WEN include:-

Market Capitalization $4.8 billion; Forward P/E 32.1.

52-Week share price range $14.96 to $22.8; 50-day moving average $20.73; Close November 13th $20.92

Return on assets 3.5%; Return on equity $18.0%; Operating margin 20.2; Profit margin 9.6%


System-wide sales growth for Q3 2019 attained 5.7 percent compared to 1.7 percent for the third quarter of 2018. Sales growth for North America increased from 1.2 percent in Q3 2018 to 5.5 percent for the most recent quarter.  Sales per store including both franchised and company- owned attained $2.6 million for the most recent quarter compared to $2.5 million for Q3 2018. 


Blue Apron Posts “Less Bad” Q3 Results


On October 31st Blue Apron Holdings (APRN) posted results for the third quarter of FY 2019 ending September 30th.  For the period, the company recorded a loss of $26.2 million on revenue of $99.5 million.  Comparable figures for fiscal 2018 were a loss of $33.9 million on revenue of $150.6 million.  Orders for the quarter decreased to 1.7 million from 2.7 million for the corresponding third quarter of 2018.  Customers declined from 646,000 in Q3 FY 2018 to 386,000 during the most recent quarter.  Average revenue per customer increased from $233 to $258 in comparing Q3 2018 to Q3 2019. 


Important financial parameters for APRN include:-


Market Capitalization $95.9 million; Forward P/E -2.0.

52-Week share price range $6.10 to $24.60; 50-day moving average $8.11; Close November 13th $7.28

Return on assets -8.4%; Return on equity $-55.3%; Operating margin -10.0; Profit margin -12.5%


CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski expressed confidence in the future of Blue Apron noting a strengthening of the customer base especially with key customer matrix during the third quarter.  The company completed refinancing of revolving credit facilities. 


Blue Apron can be regarded as a bellwether for the food delivery industry which appears to be unprofitable even with strict cost control. It is evident that current business models favor customers to the detriment of investors.


British Egg Industry Council Standards for Cage-Free Housing


The British Egg Industry Council has introduced a British Lion Quality Code of Practice Standard for cage-free housing.  The minimum requirements include:-


  • 1.5 square ft per hen floor area


  •  Restriction on colony size


  • Upgraded nest boxes


  • A ban on “combi” systems effective November 2019


The standards followed requests by U.K. retailers to develop a common standard to support a “cage-free” claim for eggs sold after 2025.


Propane Shortage Preventing Drying of Harvested Corn


A November 4th article by Sonja Begemann in Farm Journal Ag Web documents a shortage of

liquid propane in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is reducing the ability of farmers to dry grain.  Early snowfall superimposed on an already wet corn crop necessitates drying.  Storage of wet grain will lead to problems with mycotoxicosis and deterioration in nutrient content. 


Governors in affected states are issuing waivers to drivers to expedite delivery.  Agriculture officials in a number of Midwest states are reviewing the situation and will attempt to develop proactive solutions to prevent a reoccurrence in subsequent years.


Kemin Opens Research Facility in China


In a November 4th press release Kemin Industries announced the opening of an Innovation and Technology Center located in Zhuhai.  The 40,000 square foot facility represents a $14 million investment in R & D for the market in China focusing on human and animal nutrition and health, aquaculture, food technology and improvement of specialty crops.


Dr. Chris Nelson, president and CEO of Kemin stated “This new laboratory will allow Kemin to harness the talent and creative thinking of scientists in China and improve our insights of the needs of our customers to develop the technology they require.”  He added, “Opening a research and development center here prepares us to better meet the growing demands of our industries in the region and increase our global impact.”


Kemin has maintained a presence in China for three decades.




Hope for “Phase-1” Agreement Fading

Despite optimism following the October 11th negotiations in Washington that ended in a meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Vice Premier Liu He, the U.S. appear to be no closer to resolving the 20-month cycle of mutually destructive and escalating tariffs with a profound interruption in trade.

No date has been set for signing the initial agreement mainly because the two parties are at a standoff. The U.S. will not agree to lift tariffs including the round announced in August, due to come into effect in mid-October (but deferred) and the second tranche in mid-December. From the perspective of China there have been no concessions on structural issues, conflict resolution or enforcement of agreements.

In statements made at the Economic Club in New York on Tuesday November 12th

President Trump indicated “a significant Phase-1 trade deal could happen soon”. This was qualified with “if we don’t make a deal we’re going to substantially raise those tariffs” In contrast a spokesperson for the Commerce Ministry of China stated on Monday November 11th that the U.S. and China had agreed to rescind tariffs as a component of Phase-1. This contention was subsequently contradicted by the White House.

It appears that there is more than simply “papering up” the tentative October agreement as previously announced. Farmers with corn and soy in their bins from the 2018 and now the 2019 harvests are not going to receive any short-term benefit from the October promise of agricultural purchases by China valued at “$50 billion” as announced by the White House.


Outlook for the Economy and Agricultural Markets by CoBank


The CoBank Knowledge Exchange Division will present a webinar on the near-term outlook for the global, U.S. and agricultural economies. Featured presenters from the Knowledge Exchange will provide their outlook on trade and the economy, grain markets, and the animal protein and dairy industries.


Dan Kowalski

Vice President,

Knowledge Exchange

Tanner Ehmke


Knowledge Exchange

Will Sawyer

Lead Economist, Animal Protein

Knowledge Exchange

To register for Outlook for the Economy and Agricultural Markets ?on Wednesday, November 20th at 9:00 AM MST access


Inventory of Natural Gas


According to the Department of Energy, U.S. natural gas production exceeded domestic consumption during 2019, resulting in an increase in inventory. Natural gas started the heating season on November 1st with slightly higher inventories than the previous five- year average, and 16% more than last year. The EIA currently expects the nation’s inventories will exceed the previous five-year average by 9% at the end of the heating season in late March.

The EIA November outlook expects gross exports of liquefied natural gas, (LNG), to increase to 5.8 billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2019 and 7.9 billion by December 2020. In January 2017, exports of LNG averaged nearly 1.7 billion cubic feet per day. Several new U.S. LNG export facilities, along with growing domestic natural gas production, are responsible for the rapid rise of the United States as a leading LNG energy exporter.

Cold weather forecast for much of the country over the next few weeks has caused short-term natural gas prices to rise, despite relatively low prices for much of the year. EIA expects U.S. benchmark Henry Hub spot prices to average more than $2.70 per million British Thermal Units in November and December, about 25 cents higher than expected in October.


Hamlet Protein Appoints Grady Fain as VP Sales and Marketing for U.S. and Canada


Hamlet Protein, a multinational processor and supplier of soy protein specialties for piglets, chicks and poults is intent on achieving continuous growth in the U.S. The company has made significant investments in production capacity in its Findlay, OH. Plant since 2017 and is now ready to increase market penetration in the U.S. and Canada. To help drive that growth, Hamlet Protein announced the appointment of Grady Fain as Vice President Sales & Marketing for the NCA region.

Grady Fain has a distinguished record of achievement in the animal feed industry. He has held positions of responsibility with the Wayne Feed Division of Continental Grain Company, and major suppliers of feed additives to the livestock industry.

In commenting on his appointment Fain observed, “over the course of my career I have always focused on working with companies that bring true value to customers. Hamlet Protein has a high quality product portfolio with a proven track record in markets across the world. I am particularly excited about the value proposition into young animals and the approach into AGP free diets.”


Hamlet Protein initiated U.S. production in 2012, in Findlay, OH. and recently completed a major investment to increase capacity applying patented enzyme and heat technology.


Hamlet Protein CEO Erik Visser commented: “The US animal feed market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.4 percent from $75 Billion in 2018 to $85 Billion in 2024. Not only will the total feed volume grow, but the need to produce more efficiently will take center stage. Consumers will drive the reduction of antibiotics in feed, which is where Hamlet Protein can play a role. We are optimistic about our potential in the North American market, considering our track record in other markets around the world.”


Hamlet Protein produces soy-based protein ingredients for young piglets, poultry and calves at two production plants in Denmark and the U.S.  Hamlet Protein services customers around the world through a network of sales offices and distributors. For additional information click on to the Hamlet Protein logo on the right side of the WELCOME page.



Dean Foods Files For Chapter 11 Reorganization


According to a November release, Dean Foods Co. and all its subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in the Southern District of Texas. Dairy Farmers of America  and Dean foods obviously will explore a sale of the various businesses in the Group. Dean Foods was impacted by the decision by Walmart Stores to establish their own dairy and bottling plant.

Eric Beringause CEO commented “The actions we are announcing today are designed to enable us to continue serving our customers and operating as normal as we work toward the sale of our business,” He added “We have a strong operational footprint and distribution network, a robust portfolio of leading national brands and extensive private label capabilities, all supported by approximately 15,000 dedicated employees around the country”

Beringause ascribed the problems facing Dean Foods to declining consumption of dairy products that has impacted the entire chain from farmer through dairies to retailers. The USDA estimates a 40 percent per capita decline in domestic consumption of fluid milk from 24 gallons in 1975 to 17 gallons in 2018. Within the present decade extending over eight years per capita consumption of all dairy products including fluid milk, cheese and yoghurts has declined 5.3 percent from 284 lbs. to 276 lbs. In egg terms this would represent the equivalent output of 17.5 million hens.


AEB Offering Christmas Tool Kit


AEB is offering Christmas promotional items including social media posts, and recipes.  Details for the tool kit can be accessed on








Egg Nutrition Center Participates in the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo


The AEB Egg Nutrition Center participated in the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, (FNCE), an annual meeting for registered dieticians.


The ENC booth featured the benefits of lutein for ocular function and the importance of choline in fetal neonatal brain development.  Concurrently with the technical and scientific programs, the AEB hosted a culinary event featuring new egg recipes.


Presentations and education sessions delivered by executive director of the ENC Dr. Micky Rubin and the Director of Nutrition Research Dr. Jen Houchins.


Dr. Mickey Rubin


STEC Outbreak from Romaine Lettuce-- Yet Again


An outbreak involving 23 confirmed cases of E.coli O157:H7 attributed to consuming romaine lettuce occurred from mid-July through early September.


The outbreak was not publically disclosed but there have been no incident cases since September 8th.  The FDA justified the non-release of information to the fact that federal agencies were unable to identify actionable information, such as a source, in order to advise consumers.  Specimens from farms located in the central coast region of California were sampled but did not reveal the presence of the implicated E.coli.  Subsequently it was disclosed that the product was derived from the Yuma Valley.  Since the use-by date for the implicated romaine lettuce had expired, it was considered unnecessary to report findings.


It must be remembered that two E.coli outbreaks occurred in 2018 involving 270 confirmed cases with five fatalities.  Subsequent to the outbreaks, changes were made to the irrigation system supplying farms in the Yuma Valley. Buffer zones were established between concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and fields on which lettuce was cultivated.  Improvements were made in handling and packing lettuce and other green produce. 


Notwithstanding these improvements, it is evident that romaine lettuce remains a potential vehicle of infection.  Some process is urgently required that will effectively decontaminate green produce without affecting organoleptic qualities.  This may involve a physical process such as electron beam treatment or application of an effective bactericide.  It is obvious that consumers will continue to demand lettuce. Accordingly producers, food scientists and regulatory authorities must find ways of inactivating pathogens to preserve public health.  The action taken by producers and packers in the Yuma Valley has probably reduced the probability of infection but obviously not eliminated contamination with STEC. It may well be a reality that close proximity between CAFOs and fields growing green produce is incompatible with food safety. This is especially the case since there is currently no critical control point that would absolutely inactivate aerobic bacterial pathogens.



Food Safety Net Services Opens Laboratory in Dodge City KS.


Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) has announced the opening of an analytical testing laboratory dedicated to the food and consumables industries in Dodge City, KS. The Laboratory will serve producers in the central region. Trained and experienced staff with state-of-the–art equipment will conduct a comprehensive range of assays for pathogens and allergens and conduct wet chemistry procedures for the food industry. 


For information on the new Dodge City laboratory, located at 1519 S. 2nd Avenue, Dodge City, KS 67801 or to take a tour of the facility access


Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a national network of ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratories open 24/7, 365 days a year. The Company applies expert technical resources to assist clients with food safety and quality programs. Additional services include GFSI, SQF and PAACO, approved auditing and certification. For more information, access <>


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