Egg prices expected to fall after Easter

Supply and demand trends as well as expected feed cost declines should lead to lower egg prices.

April 7, 2023

3 Min Read

Egg prices trended downward in recent months but have risen again recently due to Easter demand, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Bryan-College Station, said that the Consumer Price Index reported retail egg prices dropped from $4.82/dozen to $4.21/dozen between January and February. Prices continued to fall into early March, but USDA has reported recently that prices were making their annual climb ahead of the holiday.

Egg demand historically peaks each year with traditions related to Easter like egg hunts and baking for holiday meals, and prices typically follow, Anderson said.

“We were seeing prices come down, I think, due in part to production levels improving and some reduced consumer demand because of high prices,” he said. “But recent price trends are likely related to that buildup to the Easter holiday.”

Industry recovering from HPAI

Egg prices over the past year have been an historically high, mostly due to the impact of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on the egg laying industry. While the number of table egg-laying hens has generally declined over the last few years due to higher production costs, Anderson said that since February 2022, HPAI has led to the loss of 58.6 million poultry birds in 47 states. More than 43 million of those were laying hens.

Anderson explained that the disease is believed to hit table egg-laying poultry flocks more frequently because egg-laying hens are in production much longer than broiler chickens, which increases their risk of exposure to the pathogen.

There were 327 million hens producing table eggs in the U.S. flock in December 2021, and the average cost for a dozen eggs was $1.79. Avian influenza outbreaks were reported in poultry operations in seven states by February 2022, and prices were $2.05 per dozen by March. By April, 23 million commercial poultry birds, including laying hens, broilers, ducks and turkeys, had been lost from production in dozens of states, including Texas.

Anderson explained that replacing egg layers takes time, and commercial egg producers continued to replace lost birds as outbreaks continued to pop up across the country. The table egg-laying flock climbed to 309 million by December 2022 and recently reached 313 million hens. But, that is still 12 million fewer than in March of last year, he noted.

Market factors could lead to lower egg prices

Anderson said consumers should expect egg prices to fall after the Easter demand subsides. Supply and demand trends as well as expected feed cost declines in the future should fuel lower egg prices, he suggested.

Egg producers are reporting fewer losses from the outbreak, so the table egg-laying flock should continue its return to normal levels, he said. If consumers continue to buy fewer eggs because of high prices, the increased supplies should cause the price for a dozen eggs to trend down.

Another factor that could weigh into future egg prices will be the expectation that the price of grains used in animal feed could decrease. Anderson said the USDA prospective planting reports for corn was 92 million acres, and that good yields would be a positive signal for lower feed prices and livestock production. 

“I think egg prices, the flock losses and recovery are a good representation of how long it can take to see the supply and demand side of agriculture to play out,” he said. “We’ve seen that happen with drought and other calamities, natural and manmade, but an egg growing into a layer that produces more eggs to become more egg layers, that’s not an overnight thing.”


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