Egg Glut Hurts Ag Economy

Too many hens laying too many eggs are pushing down prices for the consumer staple, hurting sales at producers and adding more stress to the farm economy.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the nation’s top egg producer, said recently that prices for its eggs fell 30 percent to about 92 cents a dozen in its quarter that ended Aug. 31.

The U.S. flock of laying hens rose to 331.4 million in early September, according to the USDA, up 800,000 birds from a year ago. Chickens in the U.S. produced more than 65 billion table eggs through August this year, up 3 percent from last year. Iowa, Indiana and Pennsylvania are among the states that produce the most of those types of eggs.

Retailers have been quick to pass the drop in egg prices on to consumers. Eggs have been advertised for sale in some parts of the country for as little as 48 cents a dozen, the USDA said.

Analysts expect producers will have to cut back production in part by sending birds to slaughter to bolster prices.

Source: Wall Street Journal