Poultry producers continue to rebuild their flocks after millions of birds were wiped out by the disease. U.S.D.A. livestock analyst Shayle Shagam says the latest egg production numbers are still showing a drop.
Shagam says, “We are currently looking at total egg production in the United States being down about 8% in September compared to a year earlier.” Iowa was the worst-hit state by bird flu earlier this year. Iowa had 75 confirmed outbreaks in 18 counties, which led to some 32-million chickens and turkeys dying or having to be euthanized. statewide.
The federal survey shows the poultry industry is starting to recover and rebuild. “The industry is attempting to expand the number of egg-type hatching layers,” Shagam says. “On October 1st, it was about 3% above a year ago, so we’re looking at an expansion there. If we look at the number of egg-type chicks hatched during September, they were up about 13% from 2014.” Shagam says rebuilding flocks just takes time.
“We’re having to raise the birds that will raise the birds that will raise the eggs,” he says. Consumers continue to see higher prices for eggs. Shagam says the wholesale cost during the 4th quarter will be about $2.45 a dozen, compared to $1.63 a year ago.
There are rising fears more bird flu outbreaks could occur this fall as migrating wild waterfowl, which are blamed for carrying the disease, head south for the winter.