COSTS OF production for egg producers have risen by just over 3% during the past year, for cages and free range alike, according to the NFU.

The average cost per dozen for laying cages stood at 43p in September, a rise of 3.2% on 12 months earlier. For free range the figure was 62.1p, a rise of 3.3%.

The appearance of these figures marks the return of the NFU‘s costings surveys for egg, broiler and turkey production, after they were discontinued in the middle of 2003.

Until then they had been published in the familiar poultry Bulletin format for many years. They will now be published in a regular ‘Business Brief‘, starting in the New Year.

The latest egg figures show an increase in most major inputs during the past year, with feed costs up 3.5%, bird depreciation up 3.3% and labour up 4.1%.

Feed now accounts for 49% of total production costs in cages, and 40% on range.
Other production costs remain unchanged except for electricity, up by over 14%.

Margins for cage eggs remain unattractive, with average producer prices standing at 38.4p/doz during the July-September quarter, which is insufficient to cover the total costs in the table.

It means that producers are effectively making a gross margin of 10p a dozen, out of which they must find their labour and deadstock replacement.

Free range producers have been doing rather better, and were receiving an average 68.4 p/doz during the third quarter, which clears a margin of 6p on these costings.

Average egg costs of production (p/doz)

Sept 04  

Cage

Free range

Feed cost 

21.24

25.07

Bird depreciation 

9.29

9.78

Labour 

5.00

15.31

Other* 

2.60

3.79

Range rental/management

0.90

Deadstock replacement 

4.90

7.20

Total

43.0

62.1

*Includes electricity, repairs,
veterinary and miscellaneous
   

NFU production standards

As at Sept 04 

Cage 

Free range

Feed cost

£120

£126

Feed cons/doz eggs

1.77kg

1.99kg

HHA

310

301

Pullet costs 17 wks  

£2.40

£2.45

Mortality

5%

8%

Source: NFU