ALL the trends in the egg sector are now downwards – but that means a mixture of bad news and good.

There is a continuing decline in both packers and wholesale prices since the start of the year. Things were still getting worse in May, when average producer prices, for example, finally slipped below 30p/ doz.

But there is good new, too. Poultry Worlds projection of the size of the laying flock is predicting another sharp fall for September, reflecting the latest drop in monthly chick placings.

Figures on packing station throughput confirm that the drop in egg output is on target to date, based on PWs earlier laying flock projections. But there is still a long way to go.

It is the prospects for the next four months that are now much more encouraging. Chick placings fell by 15% in April and have shown a cumulative fall of 8% during the first four months of the year.

By the autumn, these cutbacks have the potential to take output back to the early 1996 level, before the current price collapse began. So there is a real prospect of a good autumn and run-up to Christmas.

The final outcome will depend on the pattern of chick placings in coming months, along with the success in clearing old flocks during the summer.

  • For this and other stories, see Poultry World, 5 June-3 July, 1998

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