New York farmers see drop in egg production

Egg production on New York farms was down 3 percent in December from a year earlier, according to a

Egg production on New York farms was down 3 percent in December from a year earlier, according to a report released by the New York office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

New York egg production in December totaled 105 million eggs.

The decrease in eggs may be partially attributed to a decrease in the number of hens and pullets of laying age in New York, which was 4.23 million last month, down 3 percent from December 2006. The year-over-year rate-of-lay was also down slightly, at 2,484 eggs per month per 100 layers. New York’s rate-of-lay is higher than the U.S. average, which in December was 2,256 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from December 2006.

While production is down, prices paid to New York farmers for eggs remain up. A dozen eggs brought New York poultry farmers an average of $1.29 in December, up 4 cents from November and up 57 cents from December 2006.

USDA statistician Joe Morse said some farm consolidation may have played a slight role in the drop in egg production but with prices higher, production should follow.

“You see an increase in price and the increase in price may have a lot to do with feed costs,” Morse said.

Egg-laying chickens are typically fed with corn, a commodity that has seen price spikes since a renewed federal emphasis on corn-based ethanol production.

U.S. egg production totaled 7.76 billion during December 2007, down slightly from last year. Production included 6.63 billion table eggs and 1.13 billion hatching eggs.

The total number of layers during December 2007 averaged 344 million, down 1 percent from last year. Egg-type chicks hatched during December 2007 totaled 35.5 million, up 7 percent from December 2006. Eggs in incubators totaled 35.8 million on Jan. 1, up 4 percent from a year ago.

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