Consumers might see a slight rise in egg prices as the Easter holiday approaches due to increased demand for baking and dyed eggs, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert Dr. Craig Coufal said.
Coufal, an extension poultry specialist in College Station, Texas, said eggs are plentiful and prices are low as the Easter holiday nears.
“It looks like we’re on cruise control right now,” he said. “There are plenty of laying hens producing plenty of eggs.”
Coufal said the layer industry has fully recovered from an avian influenza outbreak that led to losses of around 35 million laying hens in the spring of 2015. Large numbers of laying hens were affected by the outbreak because hens are typically housed in large flocks, so if one facility is infected, many birds will be lost, he explained.
“Egg prices went crazy because there were so many birds taken out of production in March, April and May 2015,” Coufal said. “We haven’t had any major outbreaks (since then), and those birds have been replaced, so over the past two years we’ve been in good shape.”
There were around 316.5 million laying hens in production as of March 1, up 3% from the 307.1 million hens in production at the same time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s March “Chicken & Eggs” report.
Medium Grade AA white eggs averaged 87 cents/doz. in retail stores in the South Central U.S., which includes Texas, according to the March 24 USDA “National Retail Report.”
USDA market news reports for the region indicated that the egg market is steady, with moderate to good demand. The report noted that eggs were 5-8 cents higher, depending on size, than the previous report.
Coufal said consumers can expect a price spike around the April 16 holiday.
“People will be making dyed eggs for Easter egg hunts and baking for Sunday lunches and dinners,” he said. “That could mean a slight increase in prices because of demand, but prices should be back to normal soon thereafter.”