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Egg Monthly





  • February 2023 USDA ex-farm blended USDA nest-run benchmark price was 213.8 cents per dozen, down 34.5 percent from the January 2023 value of 326.4 cents per dozen. For comparison average USDA benchmark price for 2022 was 236.1 cents per dozen with a range of 191.1 cents per dozen in June to a high of 439.1 cents in December. Stock levels and prices prior to the onset of flock depletion due to HPAI indicated a relative seasonal balance between supply and demand. Prevailing wholesale prices will be largely dependent on future consumer demand in an inflationary environment. Other considerations include diversion to shell sales from the egg-breaking sector and fluctuation attributed to the amplification of changes in unit wholesale price due to the price discovery system. A significant decline from unseasonal current levels is anticipated into mid- 2023 unless additional depletion of flocks occurs due to HPAI.
  • February 2023 USDA average nest-run production cost was up 1.4 cents per dozen (1.7 percent) compared to January 2023 attaining 85.3 cents per dozen, mainly attributable to a 2.4 percent higher average feed cost per dozen.
  • February 2023 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a positive value of 125.5 cents per dozen compared to a margin of 242.5 cents per dozen for January 2023. Average nest-run monthly margin for 2022 was 155 cents per dozen.
  • January 2023 national flock in production (over 30,000 hens/farm) was up 0.14 percent or 0.4 million hens to 291.4 from the December 2022 value of 291.0 million. Approximately 2.5 million hens returned to production from molt in January together with projected maturation of 24.0 million pullets, with this number offset by depletion of spent flocks. From February through mid-December 2022, approximately 44 million hens were depopulated to control HPAI.
  • January 2023 pullet chick hatch was down 7.8 percent or 1.9 million from December 2022 to 22.3 million.
  • January 2023 exports of shell eggs and products combined were down 23.5 percent from a low volume in December 2022 to 323,700 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 4.6 million hens.




Summary tables for the latest USDA February 2023 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on March 10th 2023 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and compared with values from the previous February 10th 2023 posting reflecting January 2023 costs and production data.






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

83.9 c/doz

85.3 c/doz


79.6c/doz (MW)

81.1 c/doz (MW)


92.3 c/doz (N.West)

93.8c/doz (N.West)

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

Note: 1. Rounded to decimal of a cent






51.3 c/doz


Pullet depreciation

14.2 c/doz

14.3 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*

9.4 c/doz

9.4 c/doz

* Adjusted January 2022 and used as a rounding factor

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

213.8 cents per dozen1- 85.3 cents per dozen =+128.5 cents per dozen (January 2023 comparison: 326.4 cents per dozen – 83.9 cents per dozen = +242.5 cents per dozen.)

Note 1: USDA Blended egg price






Ex-farm Price (Large, White)

326.4 c/doz (Jan.)

213.8c/doz (Feb.)


Cage-free to packing plant1

497.0 c/doz (Jan.)

402.0 c/doz (Feb.)


Warehouse/Dist. Center

417.0 c/doz (Jan.)

257.0 c/doz (Feb.)


Store delivered (estimate)

422.0 c/doz (Jan.)

202.0 c/doz (Feb.)


Dept. Commerce Retail

246.0 c/doz (Dec.)

482.3 c/doz (Jan.)

  1. Negotiated price nest run loose



U.S. Average Feed Cost per ton $322.92 $330.63

Low Cost Midwest $298.71 $306.88

High Cost Northwest $369.77 $378.28

Differential $ 71.06 $ 71.40

Pullet Cost*

 (19 Weeks) $5.33 JANUARY 2023 $5.38 FEBRUARY 2023

(16 weeks) $4.61 JANUARY 2023 $4.66 FEBRUARY 2023

* Values adjusted by EIC in February 2022







Table-egg strain eggs in incubators

47.3* million (Jan.)

 45.9 million (Feb.)

Pullet chicks hatched

24.0 million (Dec.)

 22.3 million (Jan.)

Pullets to be housed 5 months after hatch

21.9 million (May)

 19.5 million (June)

EIC 2023 December 1st Flock Projection (February 2023)

337.0 million

336.9 million

National Flock in farms over 30,000 

291.0 million (Dec.)

291.4 million (Jan.)

National egg-producing flock 

307.8 million (Dec.)

308.4 million (Jan.)

Cage-free flock excluding organic

88.8 million (Jan.)

98.2 million (Feb.)

Proportion of flocks in molt or post-molt

11.4% (Jan.)

11.9% (Feb.)

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

 272.7 million (Dec.)

271.6 million (Jan.)

* USDA Revision

Total U.S. Eggs produced (billion)

7.86 (Dec.)

7.76 (Jan.)

Total Cage-Free hens in production

111.1 million (Jan.)

15.8% Organic

115.0 million (Feb.)

14.6% Organic

“Top-5” States hen population (USDA)1

144.3 million (Dec.)

145.8 million (Jan.)

Notes 1. Texas excluded to maintain confidentiality


Based on a nominal denominator of 288 million hens in flocks over 30,000 covering 95.0 percent of the U.S complement.

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

























Texas (estimate)

6.9% ?

6.8% to 7.0% ?





  1. Values rounded to 0.1%


Rate of Lay, weighted hen-week (USDA) 81.7% JANUARY 2023. 80.8% FEBRUARY 2023

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

Revised per capita egg consumption 2020:- 285.4 (down 8.0 eggs from 2019)*

Estimated per capita egg consumption 2021:- 280.5 (down 4.9 eggs from 2020)*


Projected per capita  egg consumption 2022:- 277.7 (down 3.0 eggs from 2021 due to HPAI) Forecast per capita egg consumption 2023:- 287.4 (up 190.0 eggs from 2022)

*Revised, using data from USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook February 14th 2023 taking into account demand from the food service sector and including the effect of HPAI depopulation.


Egg Inventories at beginning of FEBRUARY 2023:

Shell Eggs: 1.67 million cases up 6.4 percent from January 2023.

Frozen Egg Products: 740,656 case equivalents up 18.5 percent from January 2023

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

Eggs broken under FSIS inspection (million cases)


 DECEMBER 2022, 6.80 JANUARY 2023 6.72

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

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

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

Cumulative 2023: number of cases produced (million) 21.6 JAN.

Cumulative 2023: proportion of total eggs broken 28.9%


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



Quantity Exported


2022 2023

Shell Eggs (thousand cases)

Dec. 209 Jan. 170

Products (thousand case equivalents)

Dec 214 Jan. 154

TOTAL (thousand case equivalents)*

Dec. 423 Jan. 324


*Representing 1.5 percent of National production in JANUARY 2023.





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

From March 2019 onward some state data was withheld to maintain confidentiality where a company predominates in a specific state or region. From March 2021 California costs were inexplicably excluded, representing an unjustified concealment of data. The three Pacific Coast states could be combined to maintain confidentiality while providing representative U.S. data. Costs including feed and depreciation were recalculated in January 2022.

  • The USDA ex farm benchmark blended egg price in February 2023 was 34.5 percent lower or 112.6 cents per dozen down from January 2023 to 213.8 cents per dozen. This contributed to a positive margin of 128.5 cents per dozen based on ‘nest-run’ eggs (ungraded as delivered from the laying house) in February 2023, compared to a positive margin of 242.5 cents per dozen in January 2023. The February 2023 USDA benchmark price of 213.8 cents per dozen should be compared to 93.3 cents per dozen for the corresponding month in 2021 and 135.2 cents per dozen in February 2022. The relatively high values during the second through fourth quarters of 2022 compared to corresponding periods for the two previous years were due to depletion of hens following the emergence of HPAI coupled with a rise in demand following relaxation of COVID restrictions.
  • During February 2023, the feed component of production cost averaged 52.6 cents per dozen, up 2.4 percent or 1.2 cents per dozen from January 2023. During 2022 average feed cost was 50.1 cents per dozen compared to 42.5 cents per dozen in 2021 and 31.7 cents per dozen in 2020.
  • Combining data from the USDA and the EIC, producers recorded a positive margin of 128.5 cents per dozen at farm-level for generic-egg flocks during February 2023. This compares with a positive margin of 242.5 cents per dozen in January 2023. During 2022 cumulative algebraic margin attained 1,887 cents per dozen. For 2021 the cumulative average algebraic margin was 91.0 cents per dozen; for 2020, 16.0 cents; for 2019, -2.8 cents and for 2018, 35.3 cents per dozen, against USDA benchmark ‘nest run’ values.
  • The simple average price of feed in February 2023 over 5-regions was $330.63 per ton, higher by $7.71 per ton or 2.4 percent compared to January 2023.


Southwest data is no longer disclosed to avoid compromising a company that predominates in Texas. The highest cost among five regions was the Northwest at $378.28 per ton, up 2.3 percent from January 2023. This may be compared to the lowest-cost region, the Midwest at $306.88 per ton, up 2.7 from the previous month. The average cost for feed includes ingredients plus milling and delivery at a nominal $10 per ton.

  • The benchmark price of corn was $263.99 per ton in February 2023, up $2.43 per ton or 0.9 percent from the average January 2023 price, taking into account the difference in basis paid by producers. The differential in corn price between the Midwest and the Northwest in February 2023 was $72.39 per ton. A 6.7 percent increase of $34.05 per ton in the price of soybean meal to $537.22 per ton in February 2023 added to the cost of feed. During February 2023 there was a differential of $71.04 per ton in feed price between the Midwest and the Northwest compared to a difference of $71.06 per ton in January 2023. The industry has experienced sharp increases in the cost of phosphate additives, fat and vitamins since March 2022.
  • Feed price will continue to be a major factor driving production cost and hence margin. WASDE #634 (retrievable under the STATISTICS Tab) released on March 8th confirmed the volumes of the 2022 corn and soybean harvests, ingredient use, exports and ending stocks for the two major feed ingredients. Unknown factors influencing feed cost during March and the second quarter of 2023 will include the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine with inevitable disruption in production and shipping from the region. This influence coupled with the projected high harvests in Argentina and Brazil, despite drought, will determine prevailing prices in international trade. The availability and hence prices of ingredients will also be influenced by weather conditions following the transition from a La Nina, predicted to wane in the second quarter of 2023, to an El Nino phenomenon; export volume from the U.S. and especially to China; diversion of corn to ethanol and soy oil to biodiesel; the remaining economic and logistic effects of COVID restrictions and inflation. There is obviously lower demand for ethanol with production projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 970,000 barrels per day with one-million barrels per day during the first quarter of 2023. Substantial exports of soybeans to China, during market year 2022/2023 increased domestic price and hence cost of egg production. Each $10 per ton difference in feed cost represents approximately 1.70 cents per dozen. A change of $1 per ton (2.8 cents per bushel) in the price of corn is reflected in a 0.11 cent per dozen change in production cost. A $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal affects production cost by 0.35 cent per dozen.
  • The EIC calculated the 5-Region total nest-run production cost in February to be 85.3 cents per dozen, 1.4 cents per dozen or 1.7 percent higher than in January 2023. Production costs during February 2023 ranged from 81.1 cents per dozen in the Midwest up to 93.8 cents per dozen in the Northwest, higher than the Midwest region by 12.7 cents per dozen. During 2022 the average monthly cost of production was 81.0 cents per dozen.


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


  • Retail egg prices as determined by the Department of Commerce in January 2023 averaged 482.3 cents per dozen, up 57.3 cents per dozen, higher than in December 2022. During January 2021 and 2022 retail prices were respectively 146.6 and 192.9 cents per dozen. Through 2017 and 2021 average retail prices did not decline in proportion to ex-farm prices, allowing higher margins at retail, thereby depressing demand. Retailers have recently demonstrated some restraint in pricing possibly due to competition from deep discounters and club stores, despite sustained demand.



  • According to USDA, the estimated average complement of U.S. hens in flocks over 30,000 during January 2023 amounted to 291.4 million, reflecting a net increase in flock size by 0.4 million hens during the month. Routine depletion and also depopulation due to HPAI during 2022 was offset by pullet replacements and retained flocks. The average total U.S. flock including hens in molt on all farms counted by the USDA amounted to 308.4 million in January 2023. The average end-of-year flock sizes over the past seven years respectively were, 2014, (311 million); 2015, (291 million post-HPAI losses); 2016, (319 million); 2017, (329.6 million); 2018, (341.6 million); 2019, (341.6 million) and 2020, (325.5 million). The December 1st 2023 flock was projected to be 336.9 in March 2023 applying the EIC model. Flock size was depressed by depopulation due to HPAI amounting to 44 million hens through mid-December 2022. With replacements, molting and delayed depopulation it is estimated that the national flock comprises 20 million fewer hens than before the advent of HPAI. In the absence of a vaccine only effective biosecurity will protect flocks going forward.
  • Pullet chick hatch attained 22.3 million in January 2023, down 1.9 million from December 2022. It is anticipated that seasonal prices will be considerably higher than in preceding years into 2023, resulting in demand for chicks for expansion in addition to necessary replacement of depleted pullets and hens. It is understood that production of additional pullet chicks is unlikely given forward planning by breeder-hatcheries and full utilization of facilities.
  • The total in-molt and post-molt population of hens in the 5-Regions monitored by the USDA attained 11.9 percent of the national flock in February 2023, the same as in January 2023. Annual averages for molt and post-molt combined were 14.4 percent in 2021, 13.5 percent for 2020, 15.2 percent for 2019 and 17.4 percent for 2018. The historical high value of 23.8 percent in 2016 was due to the loss of hens during the 2015 HPAI epornitic. This situation may be revisited in 2023.
  • During the first quarter of 2023 the average monthly transfer of pullets to laying houses was 23.5 million to be followed by 20.8 million in the second quarter.
  • The projected hatchery supply flock (parent generation) peaked during 2022 at 3.1 million hens in June. The previous high parent-flock of 3.1 million hens in production was in June 2015, coinciding with the end of the HPAI epornitic. Parent hens then declined to a low of 2.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. Parent flocks attained a monthly average of 2.9 million during the third quarter and 2.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2022. During 2023 the flock size for parent hens will average 2.61 million and 2.53 million for the first and second quarters respectively. The size of the parent flock is unlikely to be revised based on pullet chick orders influenced by the demand to replace depopulated hens and in response to higher producer margins.
  • Average hen-week production of 80.8 percent in February 2023 compared to a revised value of 81.5 percent in January 2023 reflects a slightly higher proportion of older hens in the national flock with many first-cycle hens and early second-cycle hens in production. Average rate of lay in 2021 was 82.0 percent, with 80.9 percent in 2020 and compared to 79.2 percent during 2019. The average rate of lay during any period is a function of the proportion of pullets placed, the rate of depletion of flocks and retention of molted hens for a second cycle. Average flock production will fall as the weighted flock age increases or conversely will rise due to early depletion thereby increasing the proportion of young hens in their first cycle.
  • The February 22nd 2023 USDA Poultry Slaughter Report documented 2.7 million light spent-hens processed under FSIS inspection during January 2023, 2.4 percent less than during the previous month of December 2022 and 6.6 percent less than in January 2022. These decreases are inconsequential in comparison to the depletion of 14 million hens per month with the bulk either rendered or consigned to landfills. Provided housing space is available, prevailing high prices will result in retention of hens with fewer routine or previously scheduled flock depletions.



  • Monthly export data can be accessed in the relevant report retrievable in this edition and thereafter in March under the STATISTICS Tab.
  • According to USDA-FAS data, 170,000 cases of shell eggs were exported in January 2023, representing 0.8 percent of total production. The 18.7 percent decrease over a small base in December 2022 is attributed to demand from Canada, Central America and some Caribbean nations.
  • Exports of egg products in January 2023 attained 154,000 case-equivalents down 28.0 percent from the previous month, representing 0.7 percent of U.S. output.
  • Collectively, exports of shell eggs and products in January 2023 comprised the output from approximately 4.6 million hens in production during the month, attaining 323,700 case-equivalents, down 23.5 percent from December 2022 but only 54.3 percent of combined exports during the pre-HPAI first quarter of 2022 averaging 596,300 case equivalents per month.
  • Maintaining export volume is attributed to cooperation between the AEB and USAPEEC, in existing, new and potential markets. Specific attention is directed to nations with the potential to import U.S. product based on landed price against competition. Exports of both egg-products and shell eggs in January 2023 corresponded to 1.5 percent of a nominal national flock of approximately 310 million producing hens, (before HPAI depletions) on commercial farms holding more than 30,000 hens.
  • There is no scientifically justifiable reason why any nation should embargo pasteurized egg products from an approved plant, based on a diagnoses of avian influenza or END in a specific state or country.