More than 31 million birds had to be euthanized at 77 operations in 18 Iowa counties. Shayle Shagam a livestock analyst at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says wholesale egg prices recently hit a new high of $2.29 a dozen, almost doubling in two months.
“Prices on May 1st were about $1.18 a dozen,” Shagam says. “If you go back and you compare it to a year ago, we had prices about $1.37 a dozen.” Shagam says egg prices will likely remain high for up to a year because it will take that long for the poultry facilities to replace their chicken populations.
Shagam says food manufacturers rely on so-called “breaker egg” producers and they were hit hard by loss. Now, those food makers are buying up eggs from the consumer market, boosting prices.
Many Iowa turkey producers have also been impacted by the bird flu outbreaks. Shagam says turkey production will be down about 7 percent for the second half of this year, which is a big about-face.
“In the first quarter of 2015, production was actually about 7% higher,” he says. Also, supplies of frozen turkeys are up so consumers may only be paying slightly more per-pound compared to last year. “Tom turkeys were up 11% and hen turkeys 13% from a year ago,” Shagam says. Predictions call for turkey prices to increase about 6-cents a pound from a year ago.