Egg Industry Statistics and Reports





Over the past five trading days the price trend for December corn was moderately (1.8 percent) higher compared to the previous week while November soybeans moved up fractionally (0.4 percent). The market has digested the projections of crop size and ending stocks in the September 12th WASDE #628. Despite fluctuating economic sentiment, the sixth week following restoration of shipping from Black Sea ports has temporarily reduced price pressure on wheat and other grains although bellicose statements by President Putin influence the price of wheat. Commodity prices in the U.S. were also influenced by a rising Dollar Index, lower orders placed by China recovering from a national holiday and in anticipation of the 20th Congress of the ruling party and an apparent decline in the domestic U.S. demand for corn ethanol.


Factors influencing commodity prices in either direction included:-

  • With renewed fears of a U.S. recession due to an aggressive Federal Reserve following the Jackson Hole Economic Meeting, the September 13th CPI release and the September 21st upward rate adjustment, equity markets moved lower this past week. (transitory downward pressure on markets)
  • Hot and dry conditions in extensive areas of the Corn Belt reduced the yield and quality of the late-planted 2022 corn crop. The size of the corn and soybean harvests were updated in the September WASDE and were reduced by 2.9 and 3.4 percent respectively from the August Report to 172.5 bushels per acre for corn and 50.5 bushels of soybeans per acre. (upward pressure with lower carryover)
  • Geopolitical tensions that impacted wheat, corn, oilseeds and vegetable oil exports from Ukraine persist. The apparent restoration of shipments according to an agreement to lift restriction on Black Sea shipping brokered by Turkey and the U.N. is in jeopardy. Russia has inflicted extensive and deliberate damage on the agricultural infrastructure of Ukraine including elevators and crushing plants and has placed landmines in fields. Russia has destroyed 14 percent of grain storage capacity in Ukraine. (upward pressure on corn and wheat and an indirect effect on soybeans if Black Sea shipping is interrupted.)
  • Expectation of high soybean and corn crops from Brazil for the 2022-2023 season. (lower prices in the future subject to favorable reports on planting and crop progress)
  • Volatility of the Dollar Index (DXY) that declined from 105 on May 12th to 101 on June 2nd but rising again to 111 on September 22nd has influenced timing and volume of export orders (contributes to fluctuation in corn and soybean prices, depresses U.S. sales)
  • Speculation in commodities by hedge funds is declining consistent with falling equity prices this week coupled with a steady decline in the value of cryptocurrency. Concerns over a possible recession have resurfaced as the Federal Reserve is intent on raising benchmark funds rates to suppress inflation. (downward pressure)


Based on CME quotations on September 15th U.S. farmers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers and ethanol refiners in the Midwest will pay above $6.90 per bushel for corn delivered in December, up 1.8 percent from the quotation last week. Crushers will pay $14.60 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis for November delivery. December soybean meal rose by 0.2 percent or $1 per ton, compared to the quotation last week. Prices continued their moderate interday fluctuation and continued the upward trend from the previous week reflecting both domestic and export demand.



Updated September USDA Projection for 2022 U.S. Egg Production and Consumption.


On September 16th the USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated forecast of egg production for 2022 with a projection for 2023. Production, consumption and prices were revised from the previous August 18th report.


Egg production for 2022 was raised 0.3 percent from August to 7,787 million dozen but this will be 2.3 percent lower than in 2021 due to depopulation of 34.1 million hens infected with HPAI in spring extending to fall. The per capita consumption of shell eggs and liquids combined for 2022 was raised 0.6 percent from August to 279.9 but down 0.6 eggs (0.2 percent) from 2021. The average 2022 benchmark New York bulk unit price was raised to 223 cents per dozen. This was 87.3 percent higher than in 2021 attributed to unseasonal high prices during the first quarter and again due to a prolonged escalation in price reflecting losses from the end of February to date.


Subsequent USDA projections will provide greater clarity on the effect of HPAI together with the recovery of the post-COVID economy that was impacted by an 8.5 percent rate of inflation (with 11.4 percent for food) in July compared to the corresponding month in 2021. Egg-liquid consumption will be influenced by reduced availability and higher cost that will once more drive demand for alternatives to ‘real eggs’ as in 2015. Flock size may be limited by the availability of pullet chicks for replacement, rate of conversion to alternative housing systems and the cost of ingredients that will influence margins. Unknown factors influencing price will include the eventual extent of the avian influenza epornitic that may undergo a resurgence, the supply and cost of ingredients as influenced by U.S. corn and soybean yields, events in Ukraine, export volume of eggs and the persistence of current high domestic consumer demand.


USDA projected egg production in 2023 was up 0.6 percent from the August Report to 8,225 million dozen with a per capita consumption of 293 eggs.

September 2022 data is shown in the table below:-













% Difference


Production (m. dozen)







Consumption (eggs per capita)







New York price (c/doz.)







Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released September 16th 2022


Subscribers to EGG-NEWS are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices, exports and related industry statistics.


Egg Week


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, September 15th 2022.


Market Overview

  • The average wholesale unit revenue for Midwest Extra-large and Large sizes were higher by 8.2 percent, maintaining the ongoing trend of unseasonal high prices. Mediums were up by 9.8 percent extending their upward trajectory although supply will increase as many pullet flocks enter production, placing pressure on price. Retail sales are projected to be relatively higher over the short-term with higher prices given low stock levels. Both retail prices and demand will continue higher than in previous years sustained by consumer perceptions of value in an inflationary environment. Availability and hence prices are influenced by depletion of more than 31.1 million hens in 14 large complexes in ten states extending from the last week in February through the first week in June. This was followed by an unexpected incident case confirmed in Defiance County, in Northwest Ohio on September 3rd requiring depopulation of 3 million hens.
  • Total industry inventory decreased 4.6 percent overall this past week (down 7.9 percent over two successive weeks) to 1.62 million cases with a 4.6 percent decrease in shell eggs and a concurrent 4.6 percent increase in breaking stock. Wholesale unit prices during the first half of 2022 through July contrasted favorably with the corresponding periods in both 2020 and 2021 that were characterized by low ex-plant unit revenue. Although wholesale Midwest prices fell 35 percent albeit from historic highs during the first two weeks of August, generic eggs are still yielding high positive margins. The USDA benchmark average combined costs of nest-run was 82.5 cents per dozen in August (feed, chicks, housing, labor and fuel), in addition to the average cost of grading, packaging and delivery amounting to approximately 50 cents per dozen according to the EIC.
  • It is now apparent that the inventory held by chains and other significant distributors may be more important to establishing wholesale price than the USDA regional inventory figures published weekly, especially over the short term. The seasonal strategy of retailers is to adjust purchases only in response to retail demand and to hold down inventories in their DCs and stores while marking up shelf margins and pressuring suppliers for rapid replenishment of stocks to DCs and through DSD. Market data suggests that chains have priced generic white eggs in response to prevailing demand and are only seldom featuring Medium and Large sizes.
  • Due to the depletion of more than 34.1 million hens through September 3rd as a result of HPAI, unseasonal high unit revenue will now be a reality through fall. Prices will progressively decline as flocks are restocked until the pre-Thanksgiving rise. The occurrence and extent of further outbreaks of HPAI cannot be assessed until more information is revealed concerning the molecular and field epidemiology relating to cases, possible deficiencies in biosecurity on affected complexes and identification of specific risk factors.
  • The current relationship between producers and chain buyers based on a single price discovery system constitutes an impediment to a free market. The benchmark price amplifies both downward and upward swings as noted during March to June as flocks were depopulated. The benchmark functions to the detriment of the industry over the long term and a CME quotation based on Midwest Large, reflecting demand relative to supply would be more equitable.
  • According to the USDA the U.S. flock in production was up 0.6 million or 0.2 percent to 301.8 million hens during the week ending September 7th. The producing flock includes about 2.0 million molted hens that resumed laying during the past week plus 4.0 million pullets attaining production.
  • There is some prospect of a return in the food service sector but with frozen and dried egg prices stable or moderately lower over the past three weeks. The ex-farm price for breaking stock was unchanged this past week to 162 cents per dozen. Checks delivered to Midwest plants were 3.9 percent higher to 159 cents per dozen. Prices for breaking stock will remain high in relation to season for the duration of the recovery period as replacement flocks are reared, reminiscent of 2015-2016.


Week in Review


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on September 12th the Midwest wholesale price (rounded to one cent) for Extra-large was up 8.2 percent to $2.26 per dozen. Large size was up 8.2 percent to $2.24 per dozen; the Medium price was up 9.8 percent to $1.91 per dozen as delivered to DCs. Prices should be compared to the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run cost of 82.5 cents per dozen (excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport amounting to 50 cents per dozen according to the EIC) during July 2022. The progression of prices during 2022 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


 The September 12th 2022 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $2.18 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending September 6th 2022. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $2.07 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $2.27 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately $1.00 above the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was approximately $0.70 above the corresponding week in 2021 that increased before the Labor Day weekend. Prices were higher last week due to increased demand. Potential infection of commercial egg, turkey and broiler flocks with HPAI until recently considered unlikely, resulted in cases among turkeys and broiler breeder flocks in California, growing turkeys in Minnesota and a large egg-production complex in northwest Ohio and egg-producing flocks in the Provinces of Quebec and Alberta. Prices appear to have following the trend evident during the 2015 epornitic although for a relatively longer period and at a higher level in 2022.


Flock Size 


The USDA has adjusted the estimate of flock size to reflect depopulation of more than 31.1 million hens through June 6th due to HPAI. Future adjustments are anticipated following depopulation of 3 million hens in Defiance County Ohio, in early September. According to the USDA the number of producing hens reflecting September 14th (rounded to 0.1 million) was up 0.6 million or 0.2 percent to 301.8 million. The total U.S. flock includes about 2.0 million molted hens due to come back into production with approximately 4.0 million new pullets reaching maturity during the week, offset by routine flock depletion in addition to losses over the past months of the HPAI epornitic. Based on inventory level the hen population producing eggs should now be slightly lower than consumer demand entering fall. Industrial and food service off-take although increasing, has not reverted to pre-COVID levels. Imbalance between supply and demand drove prices upwards to 2015 epornitic levels as recorded during April through July. Prices will continue to fluctuate through September with relative stability but will enter a decline through the third quarter as flocks are replaced and demand ebbs until the pre-Thanksgiving surge. Prices of shell eggs and products will however depend on the emergence of additional outbreaks of HPAI, the contribution of new pullets and of molted hens to supply.


According to the USDA the total U.S. egg-flock on September 14th was raised 0.6 million to 306.1 million hens including second-cycle birds and those in molt. The nominal difference of 4.3 million between hens in production and total hens is an approximate figure but denotes more molted hens due to resume production. At present there are now at least 28 million fewer hens in both the total and producing flocks with the difference equivalent to about eight percent of the pre-HPAI national flock.



Cold storage stocks of frozen products in selected regions on September 12th 2022 amounted to 2.497 million pounds (1,135 metric tons) of frozen egg products, 0.2 percent higher than the inventory of 2.493 million lbs. on September 1st 2022. The monthly USDA Cold Storage Report below quantifies a reduction in the actual total stock level.


The most recent monthly USDA Cold Storage Report released on August 22nd 2022 documented a total stock of 23.0 million pounds (10,454 metric tons) of frozen egg products on July 31st 2022. This value was down 14.4 percent from the July 31st 2021 value of 26.9 million pounds.


July 31st frozen egg inventory was down 2.9 percent from June 30th 2022 partly due to depletion of 31.1 million hens. Compared to July 31st 2021 yolks were down 21.3 percent to 696 million lbs.


A total of 84.7 percent of combined inventory (19.3 million lbs.) comprised the categories of “Whole and Mixed” (36.1 percent) and “Unclassified” (48.6 percent). The lack of specificity in classification requires a more diligent approach to enumerating and reporting inventory by the USDA


Shell Inventory

The USDA reported that the national stock of generic shell eggs effective September 12th 2022 was down by 4.6 percent after a decrease of 3.3 percent during the previous week. This reflects consecutive weekly reordering by chains with presumed increased demand over the Labor Day weekend. Combined with breaking stock, the total inventory of shell eggs in the industry is now at 1.62 million cases (1.66 million last week, down 45,800 cases). The U.S. population of laying hens at this time is influenced by the number of hens culled due to HPAI, and includes the population unaffected by HPAI, flocks retained after molting (with an anticipated increase in this category depending on available housing capacity) and started pullets from chick placements in March 2022. Going forward, older hens will assume a larger proportion of the national flock as more flocks are molted especially as “at risk” pullet flocks were depleted due to HPAI.


All of the six USDA Regions reported lower stock levels this past week. The regions are listed in descending order of stock:-

  • The Midwest Region was down 1.7 percent compared to the previous week to 448,600 cases.
  • The Southeast Region was down 2.4 percent to 228,700 cases
  • The South Central Region was down 10.1 percent to 211,900 cases
  • The Northeast Region was down 0.2 percent to 157,700 cases.
  • The Southwest Region was down 10.3 percent to 139,600 cases
  • The Northwest Region was down 9.0 percent to 78,300 cases


The total USDA six-area stock of commodity eggs comprised 1,617,000 cases, down 4.6 percent, of which 78.2 percent were shell eggs (79.8 percent last week). The inventory of breaking stock was up 4.6 percent to 352,100 cases. Shell eggs were down 4.6 percent to 1,264,900 cases. The higher level of breaking stock suggests lower demand for liquids, despite greater volume of uncommitted eggs to the shell market. This conclusion is supported by sustained higher prices for shell eggs compared to breaking stock. The average price for Midwest checks and breaking stock combined is now about 75.5 percent of the average value of Midwest Extra-large and Large shell eggs combined (last week 76.3 percent compared to 80 percent in May). The price for breaking stock and for checks is influenced by the relative demand for generic shell eggs and contract obligations with breakers. This past week Midwest Extra- large and Large shell eggs were higher by an average of 8.2 percent in wholesale price compared to breaking stock unchanged and checks up 3.9 percent from the previous week.


On September 12th 2022 the inventory of other than generic eggs amounting to 386,000 in three categories (with the previous week in parentheses) comprised:-

  • Specialty category, up 18.3 percent to 38,800 cases. (was up 15.8 % to 32,800 cases)
  • Certified Organic, up 0.4 percent to 80,800 cases. (was down 6.4 % to 80,500 cases)
  • Cage-Free category, down 7.8 percent to 266,400 cases. (was up 1.6 % to 288,900 cases)


Demand for cage-free product will not increase materially while generic eggs from caged flocks and surplus down-classified cage-free eggs are on the shelf at $1.90 to $2.00 per dozen during normal supply conditions over the long term. Existing and proposed individual state legislation mandating sale of only cage-free eggs will support most of the anticipated transition from cages but total re-housing will not be completed, if ever, by the beginning of 2025, less than 28 months away. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has issued a revised draft of regulations based on Proposition #12 for comment but the Agency is two years late in releasing a final version, resulting in a court-ordered moratorium on implementation for sow housing. The constitutional status of Proposition #12 will be considered by SCOTUS in early October with specific consideration of the Dormant Commerce Clause relating to interstate trade. With the current proportion of non-caged flocks, cage-free eggs are surplus to demand in some areas and are becoming a commodity in many markets subjected to the same price pressures as generic eggs from caged hens. Growth in demand for organic product has been static for months.


Long-term 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 under normal balance between supply and demand. Similarly, consumers will traditionally purchase white-shelled generic eggs in preference to brown-shelled cage-free with a differential of over $1.20 per dozen.


The need for comprehensive structured statistically relevant market research on the willingness to pay for attributes such as housing, shell color, GM status and nutritional enrichment is self-evident. As in 2015, the recently concluded 2022 HPAI epornitic will provide a valuable opportunity for economists to determine the price elasticity for eggs provided funding is made available to agricultural economists at Midwest Land Grant University.



USDA-AMS posted the following September 9th national retail shell egg prices on the Egg Markets Overview report for dozen cartons with comparable prices in parentheses for the previous week:-

Large in cartons generic white $1.36 down 15.5 percent ($1.61)

Large in cartons cage-free brown $2.90 down 3.0 percent ($2.99)

Large California in Cartons $3.13 up 0.3 percent ($3.12)



National loose, (FOB dock) $2.20 up 21.5 percent ($1.81)

NYC in cartons to retailer $2.52 up 11.0 ($2.27)

Midwest in cartons to warehouse $2.08 up 0.5percent ($2.07)


The following advertised retail prices for the week ending September 15th 2022, (compared with the previous week in parentheses) were posted by the AMS on September 12th for dozen packs:

USDA Certified Organic, Brown, Large: $4.72 ($5.25)

Cage-Free Brown, Large: $2.90 ($2.99)

Omega-3 Enriched Specialty, White, Large: $2.87 ($2.92)

Generic White, Large Grade A $2.13* ($2.43)*

Generic White, Large Grade A (Feature price) $1.36* ($1.61)

* based on a small sample with few advertised promotions


Advertised price this week for Large white grade A based on a small sample was down 12.3 percent from a USDA value of $2.43 per dozen to $2.13 per dozen. Higher shelf prices will probably not suppress demand for generic categories given increased availability of the category and higher advertised prices for cage-free brown eggs. Current supply is probably lower than demand over a three-week period as the industry continues to divert fewer shell eggs to breaking and to continue delivering to DCs and stores to replenish inventory. This is consistent with two successive large declines in industry inventory. Demand for shell eggs remains moderately high coupled with reduced supply as a result of outbreaks of HPAI that have resumed. Through February to June both in-line breakers and shell egg segments of the industry were impacted. Retail demand will continue to be supported by home cooking and baking and reinforced by dining out as COVID is now almost ignored, although purchases will be limited among some demographics by earnings and inflation.


For the current week the USDA benchmark-advertised retail price of brown Cage-Free was lower as documented by the USDA by 3.0 percent or $0.09 cent per dozen to $2.90 per dozen. (last week USDA advertised price was $2.99 per dozen). Advertised promotional price for certified organic was down by 10.1 percent or $0.53 per dozen to $4.72 compared to the previous week at $5.25 per dozen. This week the difference in advertised price between cage-free brown and certified organic was $1.82 per dozen ($2.26 per dozen last week) suggesting continued higher demand for cage-free brown over certified organic during the current week. 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.


Features for the major categories this week by proportion included Organic (33.9 percent up substantially from 6.3 percent last week); Cage-free (6.6 percent, down from 15.4 percent reflecting lower stock in this category) and Omega-3 enriched, (12.2 percent, down considerably from 42.2 percent). Other categories amounted to 47.3 percent of features with Large predominating at 40.5 percent indicating a restoration of features for generics.


USDA Cage-Free Data

According to the latest monthly USDA Cage-free Hen Report released on September 2nd 2022, the number of certified organic hens during August 2022 was up 0.6 percent from July 2022 to 18.0 million. This is 0.6 percent lower than the average of 18.1 million during Q2 of 2022.


The USDA reported the cage-free (non-organic) flock to be 0.1 percent higher to 87.1 million in August 2022 compared to July. This is 1.3 percent lower than the average of 88.2 million during Q2 of 2022.


According to the USDA the population of hens producing cage-free and certified organic eggs in August 2022 comprised:-

Total U.S. flock held for USDA Certified Organic production = 18.0 million (18.1 million in Q2 2022).

Total U.S. flock held for cage-free production = 87.1 million (88.2 million in Q2 2022).

Total U.S. non-caged flock =105.1 million (106.3 million in Q2 2022).


This total value represents 32.4 percent (last month 32.3 percent) of a nominal 324 million total U.S. flock (but 35.0 percent of the national flock after HPAI mortality to 300 million). Hens certified under the USDA Organic program have decreased in proportion to cage-free flocks since Q1 of 2021.

The accuracy of individual monthly values is questioned given a history of either sharp changes or no change in successive months as documented over the past two years. Precise quarterly reports would be more suitable for the industry in planning expansion and allocation of capital.


Processed Eggs

For the processing week ending September 10th 2022 the quantity of eggs processed under FSIS inspection during the week as reported on September 14th 2022 was down 4.1 percent compared to the previous processing week to a level of 1,400,268 cases (1,463,869 cases last week). The proportion of eggs broken by in-line complexes was 51.4 percent (48.8 percent for the past week), denoting a relatively greater use of in-line eggs. The relative prices of eggs for shell sales and breaking will determine the movement of uncommitted eggs. This past week 71.0 percent of egg production was directed to the shell market, (69.6 percent for the previous week) but with no change in price paid by breakers and shell-egg packers. Breaking stock inventory was up 4.6 percent this past week to 352,100 cases. There is evidence of a slight recovery in the food service sector, especially for QSRs and casual dining, complemented by increased demand from baking and eat-at-home. During the corresponding processing week in 2020 (during-COVID) in-line breakers processed 54.0 percent of eggs broken.


For the most recent monthly report for week ending September 3rd 2022, yield from 6,085,223 cases (5,846,169 cases last month) denoted a decrease in demand for liquid over the period July 31st 2022 through August 27th 2022. Edible yield was 38.0 percent, distributed in the following proportions expressed as percentages:- liquid whole, 62.5; white, 23.8; yolk, 11.1; dried, 2.6.


All eggs broken during 2021 attained 77.8 million cases, 2.6 percent more than 2020. Eggs broken in 2022 to date attained 53.91 million cases, 1.7 percent more than for the corresponding period in 2021. This is attributed to an increased demand for egg liquids from retail, food service and QSRs and casual dining restaurants with restoration of service as COVID restrictions are relaxed, despite inflation. Demand has however tapered lower since June.


Consumption of liquids is still moderately constrained by COVID-19 home-cooking resulting in diversion of breaking stock into the shell market partly balanced by a large reduction in hens dedicated to breaking.



Breaking Stock

The average price for breaking stock was unchanged this past week to an average of 162 cents per dozen with a narrow range of 161 to 163 cents per dozen delivered to Central States plants on August 29th. Checks were up 3.9 percent this past week to an average of 159 cents per dozen over a narrow range of 158 to 160 cents per dozen. Average revenue for both breaking stock and checks should be compared to the USDA average benchmark production cost for nest-run Large, estimated by the USDA at 82.5 cents per dozen for August 2022.


Shell Eggs

The USDA Egg Market News Report dated September 12th 2022 confirmed that Midwest prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were up by 8.2 percent or 17 cents per dozen compared to the previous week. Mediums were higher by 9.8 percent. Prices have increased consistent with successive decreases in inventory. This suggests relatively higher values through September as demand continues with a depleted flock.


The following table lists the “most frequent” ranges of values as delivered to warehouses*:-


Current Week

Previous Week

Extra Large

224-227 cents per dozen

207-210 up 8.2%


222-225 cents per dozen

205-208 up 8.2%


189-192 cents per dozen

172-175 up 9.8%

Certified Organic EL

275-310 cents per dozen

Unchanged long term

Breaking stock

161-163 cents per dozen

161-163 unchanged


158-160 cents per dozen

152-154 up 3.9%

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


The September 12th 2022 Midwest Regional (IA, WI, MN.) average FOB producer prices, for nest-run, grade-quality white shelled eggs, with prices in rounded cents per dozen were up 13.2 percent from last week, with the previous week in parentheses:-

  1. $2.18 ($2.00), (estimated by proportion): L. $2.14 ($1.89): M. $1.77 ($1.54)


The September 12th 2022 California price per dozen for cage-free, certified as Proposition #12-compliant product in cartons delivered to a DC, (with the previous week in parentheses) confirmed Large size up 4.1 percent for the week.

  1. $3.36 ($3.20); L. $3.26 ($3.13); M. $2.60 ($2.51)

(See the text, tables and figures and the review of production data and prices comprising the USDA Report for September in this edition and the 1st Quarter and FY 2022 results for Cal-Maine Foods under the Statistics Tab)


Shell-Egg Demand Indicator


The USDA-AMS Shell Egg Demand Indicator for September 14th was up 7.1 points from the last weekly report to 18.7 with a 4.6 percent decrease in shell inventory from the past week as determined by the USDA-ERS as follows:-


Productive flock

301,805,l11 million hens

Average hen week production

82.2%(was 82.1%)

Average egg production

247,993,023 per day

Proportion to shell egg market

71.0% (was 69.6%)

Total for in-shell consumption

 488,831 cases per day

USDA Inventory

1,264,900 cases

26-week rolling average inventory

4.88 days

Actual inventory on hand

4.11 days

Shell Egg Demand Indicator

18.7 points (was 11.6 on September 7th)

Note 1: USDA Flock numbers were adjusted after incident cases of HPAI in mid-May. The hen population takes into account the depletion of approximately 34.1 million hens following HPAI outbreaks in fourteen large complexes and eight smaller units in ten states followed by successive weekly pullet placements.


Dried Egg Products

The USDA extreme range in prices for dried albumen and yolk products in $ per pound was released on September 9th. Data is depicted for the previous week and past months to illustrate the trend in prices attributed to HPAI depopulation:-


Whole Egg


Average June $14.71

July $13.11

August $11.70



Average June $13.50

July $13.52

August $13.50

Spray-dried white


Average June $17.23

July $14.70

August $12.80


No quotation, past week


Frozen Egg Products

The USDA range in prices for frozen egg products in cents per lb. on September 9th 2022 compared to the previous week were on average lower but indicating a balance between available products and demand from the manufacturing and retail sectors:-


Whole Egg

$1.90 - $2.00

$2.00 - $2.20


$1.30 - $1.45

$1.30 - $1.45

Average for Yolks

$3.55 - $3.65

$3.60 - $3.65


No prices were posted by USDA for non-certified liquid egg products this past week. The August averages are tabulated (cents per lb.):-

Whole 195, Whites 109, Yolks 328

The USDA has not released a report on dried egg inventory since March 13th 2020 due to inability to obtain data from producers, and will not issue reports for the immediate future.



Prevalence rates from APHIS surveys of migratory waterfowl in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways confirmed that birds were shedding H5 avian influenza virus expressing Eurasian lineage from late January 2022 onwards. This is confirmed by subsequent outbreaks in backyard flocks and combinations of commercial egg complexes, broiler and turkey growing farms among the four flyways. It is evident that some wild domestic birds are shedding virus based on cases in backyard flocks. This situation requires more intensive monitoring and presumes the need to maintain high levels of biosecurity.


Outbreaks in commercial egg-producing flocks extended from February 23rd to September 3rd


Through September to date approximate losses in commercial flocks with confirmed HPAI and updates include:-

  • 2,400,000 broilers on 12 farms
  • 190,000 broiler breeders on 6 farms (Latest, California August 22nd and 26th)
  • 5,900,000 turkeys on 140 farms (Latest, 5 in California, August 26th and 30th; Two in Minnesota, August 30th; Minnesota Sept 10th)
  • 34,100,000 egg-production hens and 850,000 pullets on 25 locations in 10 states. Pullet mortality does not include “at risk” replacements depleted on affected complexes with contiguous pullet rearing.


Unlike previous years there are still reports from the E.U. documenting shedding of H5N1 and other H5 strains by migratory waterfowl with mortality in non-anseriform wild birds and foxes. Outbreaks of HPAI are still occurring on commercial farms in Eastern Europe and one recent case in Lower Saxony in Germany was attributed to contact with wild birds. Domestic chicken, turkey and duck flocks will be vulnerable, if usually allowed access to pasture. Most veterinary authorities in Western Europe have lifted flock confinement due to lower rates of recovery of H5N1 HPAI from migratory waterfowl but a reversal of this policy will have to be considered. Avian influenza strains H5 and H7 persist in Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and both Western and Southern Africa. France is experimenting with a DNA vaccine in commercial waterfowl.


Backyard flocks that are allowed outside access will continue to be at risk of infection in the U.S. These small clusters of birds in suburban areas are of minimal significance to the epidemiology of avian influenza as it affects the commercial industry. Backyard flocks serve as indicators of the presence of virus among free-living birds as evidenced by three outbreaks on turkey farms in Utah during July and subsequent cases in California and Minnesota at the end of August.


The level of biosecurity in commercial egg production complexes and broiler farms is appreciably higher than in 2015 when the U.S. experienced an epornitic along the Mississippi Flyway The response of state and federal authorities sice this time has been rapid and effective both in diagnosing and depleting affected flocks. To date, all floor-housed flocks that were infected were depleted using foam. Euthanasia of egg production complexes involved various combinations of VSD+ applying heat or carbon dioxide.


The role of migratory waterfowl in introduction and subsequent dissemination of H5N1 HPAI virus is indicated by the close proximity of infected complexes and their counties with major waterways, lakes, wetlands or reservoirs during the spring months of 2022.


It would have been helpful for APHIS epidemiologists to have reported on their findings from the epidemiologic questionnaires completed following outbreaks on commercial farms and with special reference to the first seven large complexes affected through the end of March. It would have been important for the Industry to know the possible routes of infection and whether any obvious defects in structural or operational biosecurity contributed to outbreaks. This would have facilitated appropriate preventive action and allocation of additional resources to intensified biosecurity. A preliminary opinion with guidance during mid-April 2022 was not an unrealistic request and an interim report by early-May may have provided more value than a comprehensive document in 2023 or later. This is especially the case since an outbreak ocurred in a broiler breeder flock in Turlock, CA. on August 22nd followed by a second 4 days later with reports of four turkey flocks aong three counties in that state. In addition two cases were diagnosed in turkey flocks in Minnesota on August 30th with a large egg complex in Northwest Ohio confirmed on September 3rd This suggests ongoing exposure from wild domestic birds as evidenced by the incidence in backyard flocks that are effectively sentinels.






In a preamble to the May WASDE Report the USDA cautioned that events in Eastern Europe following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation would have unpredictable consequences. This observation is still relevant in September. It is evident that the 2022 harvest of all crops in that nation will be seriously reduced by hostilities despite potential for yield. Export of commodities including corn, wheat and oilseeds has resumed at a lower level than before the invasion but the Black Sea shipping agreement is fragile. It is doubtful whether Ukraine will be able to ship the remainder of the 2021 crop before the reduced 2022 harvest is transported to eastern ports still in operation. The situation in Ukraine has no short-term prospect for resolution.


The September 2022 WASDE adjusted corn and soybean data from August for the 2022 season is consistent with planting that commenced at the end of April with delays in the major production areas due to inclement weather. The September WASDE projections of the acreages of corn and soybeans planted were updated, with corn planted on 88.6 million acres and soybeans on 87.5 million acres.


The September 2022 WASDE advanced estimate of corn yield was lowered to 172.5 bushels per acre from 175.4 bushels per acre, due to the delay in planting followed by drought with extreme heat in July. Yield was 175.8 bushels per acre in 2021. The estimate of soybean yield was lowered to 50.5 bushels per acre from 51.9 bushels per acre in the August WASDE. Yield was 51.2 bushels per acre in 2021.


The September 2022 USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was lowered by 12.2 percent from 1,388 million bushels to 1,219 million bushels assuming predetermined production level, domestic use and exports. The USDA lowered the projected ending stock for soybeans by 13.4 percent from 245 million bushels in the August Report to 200 million bushels. The ending stocks for corn and soybeans will be revised in the October WASDE with the 2022 harvest in progress and greater clarity on exports and domestic use.


The September 2022 WASDE projection increased the price of corn from $6.65 to $6.75 per bushel. The projected price for soybeans was unchanged at 1,435 cents per bushel. Soybean Meal was unchanged at $390 per ton. All three of the price projections deviate from the September 12th CME quotations for current month delivery.


Projections included in the September 2022 WASDE reports reflect the most likely impacts of the invasion of the Ukraine. It is evident that production and hence exports of wheat, corn and sunflower by Ukraine will be sharply reduced compared to recent annual averages. It is accepted that USDA projections for export are also based on the perceived intentions and needs of China. This Nation has sharply curtailed purchases of commodities during the current market year despite drought and COVID-related disruption of imports during the first quarter of 2021.


Reports on volumes of commodities exported are included in weekly editions of EGG-NEWS based on USDA data.


Crop Progress


Status of 2022 Corn and Soybean Crops

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on September 12th documented continued progress of both soybean and corn crops. Corn now corresponds closely to the 4-year average. Seventy seven percent of corn was at the dented stage on September 11th up from 63 percent last week and 25 percent of the crop was mature and five percent has been harvested. The fact that a high proportion of the corn crop was planted over a two-week period created widespread vulnerability to heat and drought at the critical stage of silking and this had an adverse impact on corn yield in severely affected areas.


Ninety seven percent of the soybean crop was setting pods on September 11th with 22 percent dropping leaves. Crop condition was similar to the corresponding week in 2021.


For the week ending September 11th topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are still lower than the corresponding week in 2021 although some central and easterly states in the corn-belt have had relief from drought.


EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through November.  





August 21st

August 28th

4-Year Average

Corn Dough (%)

Corn Dented (%)

Corn Mature (%)

Corn Harvested (%)













Soybeans Blooming (%)

Soybeans Setting Pods (%)

Soybeans Dropping Leaves (%)










Crop Condition

V. Poor





Corn 2022

Corn 2021











Soybeans 2022

Soybeans 2021












V. Short




Topsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year





Subsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year






During mid-July AccuWeather projected that drought and heat would reduce the corn crop to a range of 14,000 to 14,300 million bushels compared to the WASDE August value of 14,360 million bushels.


The 2022 ProFarmer Tour estimated the corn crop at 13,759 million bushels with an average yield of 168.1 bushels per acre. Their estimate of the soybean crop was 4,535 million bushels with an average yield of 51.7 bushels per acre.


The September 12th WASDE #628 estimated the average U.S corn yield at 172.5 bushels per acre with a 2022 harvest of 13,944 million bushels. The soybean yield was estimated to attain 650.5 bushels per acre with a 2022 harvest of 4,378 million bushels.


The September WASDE #628 is posted in this edition.


Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-July 2022.


Exports of shell eggs since May have been constrained by availability due to successive depletion of 31 million hens through July as a result of HPAI. Sharp rises in price as a result of supply-demand disequilibrium have made U.S. export prices non-competitive as denoted by lower volumes and values for successive months. Egg products have also been impacted but to a lesser extent than shell eggs.


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 seven months of 2021 with 2022:-



Jan.-July 2021

Jan.-July 2022


Shell Eggs

Volume (m. dozen)



-75.7 (-65.2%)

Value ($ million)



-52.0 (-44.5%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



+0.59 (+58.4%)

Egg Products

Volume (metric tons)



 -6,596 (-31.0%)

Value ($ million)



+8.9 (+16.2%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



+1,941 (+65.4%)






Shell egg exports from the U.S. during the first seven months of 2022 decreased by 75.7 percent in volume and 52.0 percent in total value compared to 2021. Unit value was 59.0 cents higher to $1.60 per dozen for the seven-month period in 2022 compared to January-July 2021. The top two importers were Canada (31.1 percent of volume) and Hong Kong (30.1 percent), collectively representing 61.2 percent of volume and 57.9 percent of total value.


Egg Monthly



This monthly review comprises an interpretive consideration of USDA production statistics, input costs and prices for shell eggs, products and export data. The comprehensive report with figures illustrating trends can be downloaded by clicking on to the icon.



  • August 2022 USDA ex-farm blended USDA nest-run benchmark price was 190.6 cents per dozen, 29.7 percent lower than the July 2022 value of 271.0 cents per dozen. For comparison average USDA benchmark price for 2021 was 84.3 cents per dozen with a range of 58.0 cents per dozen in June to a high of 123.6 in December. Stock levels and prices prior to the onset of flock depletion due to HPAI indicated a relative seasonal balance between supply and demand. Prevailing wholesale prices will be largely dependent on consumer demand in an inflationary environment, with the potential to impact retail sales and margins. Other considerations include diversion to shell sales from the egg-breaking sector and fluctuation attributed to the amplification of changes in unit wholesale revenue due to the price discovery system. A moderate decline from unseasonal current levels is anticipated unless additional depletion of flocks occurs due to HPAI.
  • August 2022 USDA average nest-run production cost was 2.2 cents per dozen (2.7 percent) higher than in July 2022 to 82.5 cents per dozen, mainly attributable to a 3.8 percent higher average feed cost per dozen.
  • August 2022 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a positive value of 108.1 cents per dozen compared to a margin of 190.7 cents per dozen for July 2022.
  • July 2022 national flock in production (over 30,000 hens/farm) was up 1.1 percent or 3.2 million hens to 284.3 over a revised June 2022 value of 281.1 million. Approximately 2.5 million hens returned to production from molt in early June together with projected maturation of 24.0 million pullets, with this number offset by depletion of spent flocks. Through the end of the first week in June, 31.1 million hens were depopulated to control HPAI with an additional 3.0 million at the beginning of September.
  • July 2022 pullet chick hatch was down 1.2 percent or 3.3 million from June 2022 to 25.1 million.
  • July 2022 exports of shell eggs and products combined were down 13.2 percent from a low volume in June 2022 value to 244,000 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 3.5 million hens.


Cage-Free Report


USDA Data On Cage-Free Production For August 2022


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

The USDA Cage-Free Report for August 2022, released on September 2nd documented an unchanged complement of hens producing under the Certified Organic Program at 18.0 million (rounded to 0.1 million). The number of hens classified as cage-free (but excluding Certified Organic) including aviary, barn and other systems of housing were 0.1 percent higher from July to 87.1 million. The almost constant figures are questioned given the continuing cycle of placing pullets, expansion of facilities and depletion of old hens with limited application of molting. 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 weekly egg production for Certified Organic in August was constant compared to July attaining a questionably high average of 83.6 percent on a hen-week basis. Average weekly flock production for cage free flocks other than Certified Organic in August was up by 0.1 percent from July 2022 attaining a high average of 82.5 percent on a hen-week basis Seasonally, younger flocks increase the availability of cage-free and organic eggs in response to pullet chick placements in anticipation of pre-Easter and pre-Christmas demand. Average flock production in August 2022 represented a balance between older flocks some of which were molted and the relatively higher production from pullet chicks placed during February 2022.


Flock Size Average

(million hens)






Q2 - 2022


Q1 - 2022


Q4 - 2021


Q3 - 2021

Certified Organic







Cage-Free Hens







Total Non-Caged








Average Weekly Production (cases)





Certified Organic @ 83.6% hen/day


 292,460 unchanged

Cage-Free @ 82.5% hen/day


1,397,987 +0.1

Total Non-Caged


1,690,447 +0.1


Average Nest Run Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.64/doz. May/June/July $1.64


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

FOB Negotiated July price, grade quality, nest-run. Loose. Price range $2.40 to $3.10 per dozen

Average August Value of $2.76/doz. $2.76/doz. July 2022


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

$3.12/doz. August (was $3.12 July 2022)

USDA 6-Regions

*High: NE $3.66/doz. $3.49 (SW)

*Low: MW $2.92/doz. $2.99 (MW)

*Excludes HI and AK.


Negotiated nest-run cage-free price for August 2022 averaged $2.76 per dozen unchanged from July but reflecting unseasonal Q3 demand. Average August 2022 U.S. retail prices for cage-free eggs were unchanged from July but 13.5 percent higher than June 2022 consistent with demand. In reality a proportion of both cage free and organic production is still downgraded and sold as commodity brown eggs.

The disparity between wholesale and retail prices indicates that chains are maximizing margins especially on Certified Organic and pastured categories. This strategy restricts volume of sales and is to the disadvantage of producers.


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


Subscribers are referred to weekly USDA wholesale and retail prices posted in the EGG-NEWS Egg Price and Inventory Report E-mailed each Friday. The previous Monthly Cage-Free Report is available under the STATISTICS Tab.


Cal-Maine Foods Reports on Q2 of FY 2022


In a press release dated December 28th Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) announced results for the 2nd Quarter of FY 2022 ending November 27th 2021.   


Cal-Maine serves as a bellwether for the shell egg sector as the only public-quoted almost pure-play company in the industry. 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)






2nd Quarter Ending

Nov. 27th 2021

Nov. 28th 2020

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income (loss):




Pre-tax income (loss)

Net income (loss)







Diluted earnings (loss) per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit (Loss) Margin (%)




Lease obligations:




12 Months Trailing:

Return on Assets (%)


Return on Equity (%)


Operating Margin (%)


Profit Margin (%)


Total Assets




Market Capitalization



Note 1. $670,000 tax benefit and $2.53 million additional income in Q2 FY 2022 compared to $1.43 million in Q2 FY 2021


52-Week Range in Share Price:  $33.85 to $43.24      50-day Moving average  $36.46

Market Close, Tuesday, Dec. 28th pre-release: $38.36.

14H00 Wednesday, Dec. 29th post-release: $36.74 (down 4.1 percent)


In reviewing the CALM quarterly report the following calculated values represent key data for the most recent Quarter. (Q2 Fiscal 2021 and percent difference in parentheses):-


  • Shell egg sales attained $379.17 million in Q2 2022 assuming that this category represented 97 percent of total revenue. ($336.91 million in Q1 2021, up in value by 12.5 percent)
  • Dozen shell eggs sold (thousands): 276,108 (273,651; +0.9%)
  • Average selling price of all shell eggs: $1.37 per dozen; ($1.23 per dozen; +11.4%).
  • Average selling price of specialty eggs (excluding co-pack) calculated from data released: $1.86 cents per dozen; ($1.85 per dozen;  +0.5%).
  • Average selling price of generic eggs calculated from data released: $1.16 cents per dozen; ($1.01 cents per dozen; +14.9%).
  • Differential between generic and specialty eggs: $0.70 cents per dozen; ($0.84 per dozen; -16.7%)
  • Specialty eggs as a proportion of volume sold: 30.3%; (26.4%; +14.8%)
  • Specialty eggs as a proportion of sales value: 41.1%; (39.7 %; +3.5%)
  • Proportion of eggs sold actually produced by Cal-Maine flocks: 93.0%  (92.1%  +1.0%;).
  • Feed cost per dozen 52.9 cents (41.0 cents +29.0%)


The following observations relate to the comparison of Q2 2022 with the corresponding quarter in 2021:-

  • Q2 of FY 2022 represented a more favorable marketing comparison to Q2 2021 based on higher prices for shell eggs during the most recent quarter, as influenced by partial restoration of institutional and consumer demand with evident recovery from COVID restrictions.
  • Gross profit was impacted positively by higher unit revenue for generic eggs but offset by significantly higher feed cost and obviously inflation in expenditure on labor, fuel and packaging.
  • Loss was constrained by the relatively high proportion of specialty eggs sold that generated a higher margin compared to generics.
  • In a down-market the relative contribution of specialty eggs is amplified and Cal- Maine achieved an increase in the value sold in this category
  • Responding to the market in Q2 2022 Cal-Maine purchase of eggs was within one percent of the corresponding quarter in FY 2021.
  • Apart from family-trust shareholding of 14.7 percent, institutions hold 92.1 percent of equity. Shares short of float December 15th attained 21.5 percent. CALM must generate slightly over $20 million in net earnings before restoring the dividend.


In commenting on Q2 results Dolph Baker, chairman and CEO of Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., stated, “We were pleased to report higher sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 compared with the prior year, driven by improved shell egg pricing. We are pleased that our operating results helped drive a return to modest profitability in the second quarter despite the impacts of higher costs for feed ingredients, processing and packaging.”


Baker added "For the second quarter of fiscal 2022, specialty egg sales accounted for 41.1 percent of total shell egg revenue, compared to 39.7 percent, for the prior-year quarter. We continue to focus on offering a favorable product mix that meets the needs of our customers, including conventional, cage-free, organic and other specialty eggs and egg products. Consumer preference for specialty eggs, including cage-free eggs, continues to expand”.


With regard to expansion Baker noted “In October, we announced that our Board of Directors approved a $23.0 million capital project to expand the Company’s cage-free egg production at our Okeechobee, Florida, facility, which will add capacity for approximately 400,000 cage-free hens and 210,000 pullets. This most recent expansion project in Florida supports our strategy to position Cal-Maine Foods as an industry leader” Cal-Maine made an additional investment in Southwest Specialty Eggs, LLC, to acquire warehouse and distribution capability to expand the customer base in the southern California, Arizona and Nevada markets. Given the cage-free egg requirement in California will take effect on January 1, 2022, we believe this investment will be immediately accretive given our enhanced ability to better utilize our cage-free egg offerings and support the sales and distribution of other specialty eggs into these important retail markets”.


Baker concluded “In spite of current and expected inflationary headwinds, we remain focused on what we can control by managing our costs and running efficient operations. We are mindful of our essential role to support the nation’s food supply with nutritious and affordable protein. We are confident we have the right strategy in place to meet this objective, with a proven operating model that will drive long-term growth. Importantly, we have sufficient capital to fund internal expansion projects and consider potential acquisitions to support our strategy”.


Since 2008, Cal-Maine Foods has invested more than $482 million in facilities, equipment, and related operations to expand cage-free production and distribution capability.