Proposed funding of project to evaluate the price of eggs under conditions affecting supply


Prior to 2015 the U.S. egg industry was characterized by seasonal fluctuation in demand with peaks over Easter and Christmas yielding high unit prices followed by declines in consumption with a corresponding reversal in the price trend. In addition cyclic periods of overproduction depressed prices at approximately three-year intervals stimulating consolidation among producers.


 Factors that have impacted the relatively predictable traditional relationship between production volume and price include:-


  • Transition from conventional cages to alternative aviary and floor systems in response to welfare demands by consumers, QSRs and retailers
  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza leading to the depletion of 40 million hens in 2015 with disruption of the fairly stable relationship between the shell egg and liquid sectors that under normal conditions operate independently
  • Investment in new in-line shell egg complexes housing over two million hens and requiring capital expenditure of over $100 million per location.
  • The rise in branded enriched specialty, organic and cage-free eggs accompanied by the emergence of store brands
  • Increased productivity of current commercial strains given improved nutrition and immunization over an extended non-molt cycle.
  • Consumers accepting the nutritional content and value of eggs in the absence of concern over cholesterol content.


Given the changing situation producers faced with investment decisions should have a clear understanding of the factors influencing the price of shell eggs in a more complicated market influenced by extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting production and demand.


  Currently producers, integrators and financial institutions that provide capital are obliged to make investment decisions without the benefit of quantitative data or economic models depicting supply and demand relationships. This is especially the case with erection of alternative housing systems with or without replacement of existing flocks. Clearly ad hoc decisions are being made to implement, cancel or re-schedule new complexes without reference to models describing the price elasticity of generic shell eggs and alternative presentations.



 EGG-NEWS has previously advocated for a study on egg prices as determined by supply and demand especially when factors such as disease occur. The events of 2015 involving HPAI and its aftermath are self-evident. The fipronil crisis in the EU and then HPAI in S. Korea are examples of a transitory increase in export demand drawing shell eggs from the domestic market and into the liquid sector of the industry.   


It is proposed that a team of agricultural economists preferably at a Land Grant University should be invited to submit research proposals (RFPs) to develop models to determine future prices for generic and alternative types of shell eggs, given defined levels of production. Events contributing to wide swings in price since 2014 would provide a valuable dataset to establish correlations between production and price accepting that demand has displayed a shallow trajectory in recent years Additional considerations should include the relationship between shell-egg and egg-liquid components of the industry under conditions that restrict output of either or both segments.


 It is suggested that a modular approach should be implemented with RFPs reflecting the most immediate needs of the Industry. A comprehensive and detailed project requiring extensive research with a distant completion date is disfavored.


The question now is to determine the terms of reference and how a project could be funded. Let us not follow the parable of the mice that decided that if the house cat could be fitted with a bell they would be warned of its approach. The impasse then became which of the mice would bell the cat!


Egg Industry News



Price of corn down 2.4 percent at close of CME trading on August 22nd following a 3.6 percent decline last week. Soybeans and soybean meal relatively unchanged.

Corn continues the downward trend in price. Previously corn responded to the mid-session release of the August WASDE on Monday 12th with a 5.2 downward turn by close of trading. The WASDE documented an unexpected higher yield and an 8.6 percent increase in ending stocks of corn. Currently field evaluation of the status of the 2019 crop is in progress amid conflicts. Soybeans were relatively unchanged this past week but a re-evaluation of yield will be incorporation in the September WASD. This may alter the 5.0 percent estimate of ending stock, an important  determinant of price.

The absence of any substantial news regarding negotiations with China and now the new issue of possible intervention by China in Hong Kong has created pessimism over a resolution of the trade conflict. Resumption is scheduled for some undisclosed time during September in Washington suggesting intractability by both the U.S. and China. Current consensus is that there will be no resolution of the trade dispute before the end of 2019. In the interim China has retaliated by banning all imports of agricultural products from the U.S.

The continuous stream of conflicting statements by White House and Government of China spokespersons over the months since the dispute began is disconcerting to the commodities market and has contributed to price fluctuation.

The following quotations were posted by the CME at close of trading on Friday 22nd August compared with values for Monday 16 th August (in parentheses).



Corn (cents per bushel)

Sept. 362 (371)

Dec. 370 (381)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Sept. 858 (866)

Nov. 870 (879)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Sept. 294 (295)

Dec. 300 (300)

Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal this past week were:-


Corn: Sept. quotation down 8 cents per Bu                          (-2.4 percent)

Soybeans: Sept. quotation down 8 cents per Bu                  (-1.0 percent)

Soybean Meal: Sept. quotation down $1 per ton from Aug.. (-0.3 percent)

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-


Subscribers are referred to the weekly USDA Crop Progress Report and the August 12th WASDE posted under the STATISTICS tab.

In June some concessions were promised by China to reduce coercive trade practices and clarify dispute resolution. Subsequently U.S. negotiators claim that China has backtracked on structural issues hence the threat of more stringent tariffs and embargos on trade with tech. companies in China.

Prices will be determined by the trend in levels of ending stocks as influenced by the 2019 harvest, exports and domestic use.

For comparison the values below are commodity prices posted by the Dalian Mercantile Exchange in $US per short ton* at market open on August 13 th 2019 (local time) with comparable August 12th closing CME values in parentheses:-

Corn $244 ($140)

Soybeans $410 ($287)

Soybean meal $365 ($293)

*(conversion Rmb7.14=$US1 prevailing August 12th)

The August 12th 2019 WASDE Report #591, projected that 82.0 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2019 to produce 13.90 Billion bushels. The WASDE projected a harvest of 3.68 Billion bushels of soybeans from 75.9 million acres. The levels of production and ending stocks for the two commodities are based on completion of planting in June and current data on harvest area and projected yield. The WASDE to be published in mid-September will confirm the projected yields and ending stocks of corn and soybeans respectively.

The corn price was adversely affected by the August 9th decision by the EPA to grant 31 and to deny six waivers to refineries. This action according to the Renewable Fuel Association decreased demand by 1 billion gallons of biofuel. This was reflected in a sharp decline in the value of a RIN from 20 to 11 cents. Ethanol spot price was $1.34 per gallon 0n August 22nd ($1.27 per gallon on August 9th).

Unless shipments of corn and especially soybeans to China resume in volume, which is highly unlikely, the financial future for row-crop farmers in 2019 appears bleak despite the release of two tranches of support funding in 2018 amounting to $8 billion as "short-term" compensation for disruption in trade. On July 25th the USDA announced a $16 million package to support agriculture with Market Facilitation funds to be distributed in three tranches. The first payment has commenced through the Farm Services Agency under authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Payments will be based on a value corresponding to the higher of 50 percent of the Producer's calculated payment or $15 per acre, provided a cover crop is planted.

The magnitude of the second (November 2019) and third (January 2020) payments will be decided on according to prevailing conditions. Regulations framed in terms of the Additional Supplementation Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 enacted in June will determine eligibility.


Egg Week


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, August 20th 2019.

  • Hen numbers in production up 1.7 million to 323.9 million .
  • Shell inventory down 1.9 percent after a 10.3 percent fall last week
  • USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for extra large and large up 57.9 and 60.2 percent to 84.5 and 82.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 38.1 percent to 43.5 cents per dozen.
  • Price of breaking stock up at 40.0 cents per dozen and checks at 26.0 cents per dozen respectively. Both categories substantially below cost of production



According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on August 19 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large were higher by 31 cents per dozen to 84.5 and 82.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were up 38.1 percent to 43.5 cents per dozen. Extra Large and Large were above the USDA average 5-Region blended nest-run benchmark of 62.7 cents per dozen in July. The progression of prices during 2019 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


Updated USDA Projections for 2018 and 2019 U.S. Egg Production


The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated forecast of egg production on August 16th, following the previous July 17 th report. The volume of eggs produced and per capita consumption in 2019 were increased by 2.4 and 1.9 percent respectively compared to 2018 data. Consistent with this disparity, the benchmark New York price was reduced by 37.7 percent in unit value. Production data reflecting 2016 and 2017 should be compared to 2015, impacted by the Spring outbreak of HPAI in the upper-Midwest. The price elasticity of eggs is denoted by the disparity in the decline in the New York price benchmark relative to forecast volume of production. The latest data is reflected in the table below:-










2018 2019 Difference % 2020

(actual) (forecast) 2018 to 2019 (projection)





Production (m. dozen)




7,952 8,144 +2.4% 8,230


Consumption (eggs per capita)




284.0 289.3 +1.9% 291.0

New York price (c/doz.)




138 86 -37.7% 97.5


Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook –August 16th 2019

*Impacted by Spring 2015 HPAI outbreaks. Consumption in 2014, 267 eggs per capita

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


Crop Progress


Status of 2019 Corn and Soybean Crops

The USDA Crop Progress Report released August 19th documented progress in both corn and soybeans after a slow start to planting that is expected to negatively impact yields as documented in the August WASDE Report under the STATISTICS tab. Current crop condition for both soybeans and corn are inferior to the 2018 harvest as tabulated below. High topsoil moisture levels are evident in comparison with the corresponding week in 2018. Long-range forecasts call for dry weather in the Eastern corn-belt in late August.

CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through the end of the 2019 harvest in October.



August 11th

August 18th

5-Year Average

Corn Silking %

Corn Dough %

Corn Dented











Soybeans Blooming %

Soybeans Setting pods %








Crop Condition

V. Poor





Corn 2019

Corn 2018











Soybeans 2019

Soybeans 2018













V. Short




Topsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year





Subsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year






Boris Johnson and Biosecurity


The August 3rd edition of The Economist shows a picture of the recently elevated Prime Minister of the U.K., Boris Johnson visiting a production unit in Wales.  It is clear that the publicity image denotes a lack of concern for biosecurity.  Certainly no one should be allowed into the proximity of a flock while wearing street clothing, rumpled in the case of Boris, or otherwise.



Foodborne Infections in Germany During 2018


The Infectious Disease Epidemiology Annual Report for 2018 released on July 29th by the Robert Koch Institute documents the incidence of foodborne infection in Germany.  The rates for specified infections were at:-


  • Campylobacterosis: 78.0/100,000
  • Salmonellosis: 15.6/100,000
  • STEC: 2.5/100,000
  • Listeriosis: 1/100,000

Norovirus incidence attained 94 per 100,000 and was considered the leading gastrointestinal infection.
The report produced by the Robert Koch Institute follows passage of the German Prevention and Control of Infections Act of 2016 that mandated reporting of emerging diseases and drug- resistant pathogens.
During 2018 whole genome sequencing was extensively applied, demonstrating that the increase in Salmonella Enteritidis complex type 1734 was from eggs derived from barns and free-range flocks.  A total of 191 cases were diagnosed in a number of states and molecular typing identified 24 small outbreaks.  Most of the other serotypes identified including Salmonella Infantis, S. Kentucky and S. Derby were acquired during foreign travel.
As with many national surveys, apparent increases in incidences might be attributed to enhanced diagnostic procedures and collation of regional databases.


Eggshells Used in Bone Repair


According to an article in Biomaterials Science researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell have used crushed eggshell as a biogel to support proliferation bone cells.  The mixture provides the framework to grow bone potentially to be used for grafts.  Currently studies are in progress using rats but subsequently the technique may be extended to human patients.


Welcome to Greengage Enlightened Farming


Greengage Lighting Ltd. specializes in innovative precision LED lighting and environmental sensor systems for livestock production. The company is located at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh. This association with academics, engineers and specialists has made possible advanced lighting and electronic systems contributing to optimal productivity.

The Greengage system applies inductive power for lamps and sensors sharing a common overhead connection network. Greengage ALIS lamps are protected against water and dust and are designed to function for ten or more years delivering lux and lumen values conforming to international standards. Inductive power is supplied by hubs located exterior to the area occupied by the flock. Lamps are available in either wide or narrow-beam configuration. Blue lamps are also available to be used when depopulating houses. The ALIS range includes low-power nest lamps and strip-lamps all controlled using dawn-to-dusk controllers. ALIS lamps are designed to deliver a light spectrum consistent with the photopic response of chickens. Inductive power provides constant current in the absence of photometric flicker thereby reducing stress. Compared to conventional compact florescent lamps, ALIS inductive-powered lamps provide energy savings of from 50 to 90 percent. ALIS lighting systems reduce shadows within houses leading to higher flock uniformity. Induction-powered lighting systems reduce the possibility of barn fires.


Greengage has developed a series of ALIS sensors that can be attached to the overhead grid powering the lamps. The range of sensors include:

  • ALIS Chirp Sensor that monitors acoustic patterns indicating a deviation from optimal environmental conditions
  • The ALIS Cluster Sensor views flock motility and can indicate unusual aggregation of birds within the flock to avert to smothering
  • ALIS Greenhouse Sensor monitors ammonia, carbon dioxide and humidity
  • ALIS Ambient Sensor monitors light and temperature

Inputs from sensors are analyzed in real time to control environmental variables. Data can be accessed remotely to modify ventilation and light settings.

The North American distributor for Greengage is Davian Inc. with Jassen Jackman jassen.jackman@vencomatic.ca as the contact. Additional information on Greengage and the range of environmental control module and lighting systems can be accessed on www.greengage.global


Australia Struggles with Egg-borne Salmonella


Outbreaks of human salmonellosis were diagnosed South Australia in 2014, 2016 and  more recent and extensive outbreaks in 2017 and 2018. The relatively rare serotype Salmonella Hessarek was implicated in 96 cases between 2012 and 2016 with half of the reports emanating in South Australia. Between November 2016 and February 2017, a total of 136 Salmonella notifications was investigated by the South Australian Communicable Disease Control Branch. Traceback revealed a specific farm as the source of eggs contaminated with Salmonella Hessarek Recovery of the pathogen from within the egg indicates either penetration of the eggshell or vertical transmission.  Shell-egg rinses however did not yield Salmonella implying contamination of the yolk or albumen.


The implicated farm, as with many egg production units in Australia, operated free-range flocks between November 2016 and February 2017.  Decontamination of pasture is impossible and introduction of a detection and prevention program as in the U.S. industry would not be effective even with administration of an autogenous vaccine.  It would appear that if Australian consumers insist on eating egg from free-range flocks thorough cooking appears essential.  The possible application of in-shell pasteurization using a microwave system developed in South Africa would eliminate egg-borne Salmonella infection.  To justify cost, it would be necessary to transport eggs from small farms to a central packing plant equipped with a microwave pasteurizer.


Given the prevalence Salmonella infection in flocks housed on pasture, it is difficult to understand why a health authority has not insisted on a cold chain between the time of packing and point of sale.


*Kenny, B. et al A protracted outbreak of Salmonella Hessarek infection associated with one brand of eggs – South Australia, March 2017-June 2018 J.AIDS ClinRes DOI: 10.4172/2155-6113-C1-027 Joint Event - 9th International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 6th World Congress on Control and Prevention of HIV/AIDS.


Initial Evaluation of Romaine Lettuce from the Yuma Valley


Following the spring 2018 outbreak of E. coli O157:H7, infection was traced back to lettuce grown in the Yuma AZ Valley.  This outbreak involved 210 diagnosed cases in 36 states requiring 96 hospitalizations and 27 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome with five fatalities.  Yuma Valley supplies most of the leafy greens consumed between November and March.


Following investigations by the FDA, and in consultation with agricultural and food safety experts, changes were made to the irrigation of fields with specific reference to exclusion of runoff from CAFOs.

Recently the FDA conducted assays on 118 samples from specific farms including 26 commercial coolers and cold storage facilities.  All samples were free of Salmonella and a  

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) was identified in in one sample. 


Although the initial evaluation is promising, additional surveillance will be necessary for the 2019-2020 season.  In the long term however environmental studies will be required to determine risk factors and to develop appropriate preventive measures.  Over the long term antibacterial treatment such as high-efficiency UV or electron beam treatment may be necessary to provide security for uncooked foods.


Poultry Research Center Inaugurated by Roslin Institute


The Allermuir Avian Innovation Research and Skills Center was inaugurated on the Easter Bush Campus of the Roslin Institute on June 6th. The facility will be managed by the Scotland Rural College and the center will be co-funded by the Center for Innovation Excellence in Livestock, the Scottish Funding Council and Innovate U.K.

In opening the facility, Lord Henley, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State of the Department for Business Energy and Industry Strategy stated “It is great to see investment like this in new agri-tech facilities that will help the sector to innovate and create the highly-skilled jobs of the future through our agricultural strategy and our modern industrial capacity’ Lord Henley added “The Government has invested more than $350 million to help transform food production in the U.K. for the better.”

The research center is equipped with Greengage inductive lighting and sensor systems to provide comprehensive environmental control. Matt Kealey, Director of Sales and Marketing for Greengage stated “We are delighted that our ALIS lighting platform is installed at the Allermuir Avian Research Center”. Ultimately the facility will be staffed by a team of 35 scientists and technicians and will conduct studies on antimicrobials and management systems.


Passing of Emanuel Puglisi


Emanuel Puglisi died on August 14th at the age of 95. A native of Sicily, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1937 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Subsequently he founded Puglisi Egg Farms in Howell, NJ and was active until his retirement in 1986.

Emanuel was an innovator in both housing and management of flocks and marketing eggs. He was a past-president of the New Jersey Poultry Products Council and a recipient of the Golden Egg award from the IEC.


AEB – More Bang For The Buck


The American Egg Board recently reported on July web activity. During the month search engine advertisements generated 2.6 million impressions and 145,000 clicks. July spending was down 18 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2018 but clicks were up 95 percent.

Social media generated 50 million impressions and 66,000 engagements (better than any dating site!)

The Dinner Eggs campaign was the key to the success of the web response. This initiative represents a collaboration between The Incredible Egg and the AEB Egg Nutrition Center. Cara Harbstreet a registered dietitian focused her Dinner Eggs contribution on a microwaveable Ramen recipe directed to busy health-conscious young consumers. Dinner Eggs is further promoted by the “Farm Babe”.


OVO-Vision Software Now Available for Intermediate and Small-Sized Egg Operations


Since inception ten years ago, OVO-Vision has devised and supplied software for large packing plants. The company recently extended their range of software to encompass small and intermediate-sized plants offering  commensurate flexibility and convenience. Software can be scaled to facilitate expansion and a number of packages are available to suit specific requirements.

The proven OVO-Vision enterprise software is highly customizable and can be installed on a local server and OVO-Vision Cloud placing accessibility in reach of even the smallest of producers. The OVO-Vision cloud as offered by QwinSoft B.V. comprises several modules that can be selected depending on the needs of the application these comprise:

  • OVO-Vision basics
  • OVO-Vision essentials
  • OVO-Vision premium

Feature lists are available on the OVO-vision website which can be accessed by clicking on to the OVO-Vision logo on the right side of the welcome page. The scope of OVO-Vision software can be reviewed on the attached clip.


Target Introduces New Brand


Target has introduced the Good & Gather™ brand for foods and beverages.  Products will appear on shelves during mid-September and the range will include 2,000 products by the end of 2020.


Good & Gather™ products are made without artificial flavors, sweeteners, synthetic colors or high-fructose corn syrup.  It is intended to phase out existing brands including Archer Farms™ and Simply Balanced™.


Stephanie Lundquist, Executive Vice-president of Target and president of Food and Beverage stated, “Our guest are incredibly busy and want great tasting food so they can feel good about feeding their families.”  She added, “We saw this as a huge opportunity for Target to help so our team got to work on our most ambitious food undertaking yet, reimaging our own food brands to serve up convenient affordable options.”


The Target release continued, “The debut of Good & Gather plays a role in Target’s broader efforts to reimagine its owned brand portfolio.”


Seminar on Eggs and Products set for Mexico City


According to the August 19th edition of the USAPEEC MondayLine, USAPEEC Mexico has scheduled another seminar on the subject of eggs and egg products in Mexico City. This will be part of a series of seminars sponsored by American Egg Board focussing on food processors, food service professionals, and personnel in the food industry using shell eggs as ingredients.

The USAPEEC Mexico Office will hold the seminar during the food service tradeshow ABASTUR, attended by potential buyers. Topics to be covered during the seminars include handling and storage of eggs, manufacture of egg products nutrient qualities, functionality and microbiology

A consulting chef will demonstrate a range of egg products confirming the quality and versatility of U.S. egg liquids. The seminars will be held in Mexico City, September 4th; Aguascalientes, September 17th and Monterrey, November 19th. For additional details and invitations contact Liliana Solis at lsolis@usapeec.org.mx.


Animal Welfare, Food Safety Area Briefings


Schedule of presentations




Philippines Suffering from Widespread Dengue Fever Outbreak


During 2019, close to 150,000 confirmed cases of Dengue fever have been reported in the Philippines with 622 fatalities.  The Health Ministry of the Philippines has declared an emergency and the Nation is concentrating all public health resources to combating the infection.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease and in the absence of a safe and effective vaccine, control measures are confined to suppressing mosquito populations.

 Recently EGG-NEWS reported on opposition to deploying genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to control malaria.  Any activity that unjustly disparages GM on principle or restricts the use of a viable and scientifically proven control method for a serious disease such as malaria or Dengue is strongly deprecated.  Opponents of GM are not taking into account the effect of disease and mortality caused by mosquitoes responsible for numerous widespread infections on four continents.  Given unseasonal rains and increased temperatures, Gulf States are vulnerable to Arborviral encephalitides, Dengue, Zika and Chikunguna fever, all of which are vector borne.


Sponsored Announcements

Available Position


Due to scheduled retirement of the incumbent, a position as feed mill manager has become available at the Versailles OH facility.  The Buckeye mill produces 10,000 tons per month with appropriate storage and other installations. 

The incumbent should have appropriate experience in managing a feed mill and comply with the following:

  • Ability to manage and motivate a small group of technical personnel, mill workers and delivery drivers
  • Mechanical ability
  • Good organizational and communicating abilities
  • Computer literate
  • Self motivated
  • Associate or Baccalaureate degree would be preferred. 


Apply in confidence to Alex Weaver a.weaver@weavereggs.com attaching a CV outlining qualifications and experience.
The position carries a competitive salary and fringe benefits. Weaver Brothers Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Company.


Visit our Companion Website

Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
Contact     C. V.