U.S.D.A. initiates cage-free egg report

by Ron Sterk
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Cage-free eggs
The report will include retail feature price information for extra-large and large brown and white cage-free shell eggs from more than 29,000 stores.

WASHINGTON — On Sept. 19 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service released a new monthly report on cage-free table egg pricing, with the intent of “adding transparency to the cage-free shell egg market.”

The report will include wholesale prices for cage-free shell eggs traded on a contract basis and negotiated spot market basis, the U.S.D.A. said. It also will include retail feature price information for extra-large and large brown and white cage-free shell eggs from more than 29,000 stores. The report will provide data on U.S. organic and non-organic cage-free shell egg production, based on organic and cage-free flock size estimates and estimated egg laying rates.

The Sept. 19 report indicated contracted wholesale prices (at first receivers) for brown and white cage-free eggs ranged from $1.35 to $2.40 a dozen and averaged $1.86 a dozen. There was not quote for negotiated pricing.

Advertised (retail) prices between Aug. 19 and Sept. 15 for extra-large cage-free white eggs ranged from $2.29 to $3.59 a dozen and for brown eggs from $2.29 to $2.50 a dozen. Large cage-free white eggs ranged from $1.50 to $3.50 a dozen, averaging $2.84 a dozen, while large brown eggs ranged from $1.50 to $5.49 a dozen, averaging $3.07 a dozen. The $5.49 price was in Hawaii, while the highest mainland price was $4.99 a dozen in the Southwest (California-Arizona region).

The certified organic cage-free laying flock was 13.5 million with an estimated egg lay rate of 75.5%, the U.S.D.A. said. The non-organic cage-free flock was estimated at 17 million hens, also with a 75.5% lay rate. Estimates were based on quarterly data collected in April.

The report will be released the first Monday of each month, the U.S.DA. said. The latest report may be found at: www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/pymcagefree.pdf
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