THE P O ULTR Y AND EG G S I TUATI O N
INDEX NUMBERS OF WHOLESALE FOOD PRICES AND FARM PRICES
OF POULTRY FEED. CHICKENS. AND EGGS. 1910-23
INDEX NUMBERS I 1910 1914-100)
PERCENT[ I I I I I I
U S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
1914 1916 1918 1920 1922
NEG 1J.t]' RBURPiU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
FARM PRODUCTION OF EGGS. 1910-23
1910 1912 1914 1916 1918 1920 1922
u 5. DEPARTMENT or AGRICULTURE hEG 35711 BUREAU Of AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
THE PRINCIPAL EFFECT OF THE WORLD WAR ON THE POULTRY INDUSTRY
WAS A RESULT Or CHANCES IN THE GENERAL PRICE LEVEL. DURING THE PERIOD
FROM 1915 TO 1918, FEED PRICES ROSE FASTER THAN DID CHICKEN AND EGG
PRICES, AND POULTRYMEN *ERE IN A RELATIVELY UNFAVORABLE POSITION. DUR-
ING THIS PERIOD EGG PRODUCTION DROPPED OFF SLIGHTLY. IN 1921, FEED
PRICES DROPPED MUCH MORE SHARPLY THAN DID CHICKEN AND EGG PRICES AND
FROM 1921 TO 1923 POULIRYMEN AERE IN A FAVORABLE POSITION. As A RESULT,
EGG PRODUCTION INCREASED RAPIDLY.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
THE POULTRY AND EGG SITUATION AT A GLANCE
EGGS I II PERCER NTJ I
IDiOZENSI I VrII ern er nDATI I kiM AI'lIn r *II i TInal IMkit II
JAN APR JULN OCT JAN
JIDEFX AUMEfTS ADJUSTED FOR SE4AONAL V4ARITIOHN
U 5 DEPARTMENT OF ACRICULIURE NEG 355739
APR JULY OCT
-' ON IST EAY OF MOUlTH
BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
PES-34 -.5 -
THE P POULTRY AND .- ,GG SITUATI ON
Market receipts of both dressed poultry and eggs are expected to
continue larger this fal. and winter than last, according to the Bureau
of Agricultua.-al conomics. Storage stocks of eggs and poultry are now
larger than last year, tad are expected to be above 1939 levels on Jan-
uary 1, 19Q40. The effect of these larg r supplies on prices during the
remainder of tnis year will be partly, offset by tnc effect of larger con-
sumer incomes. By the spring of 1910 .the effect of increased consumer
incomes may be relatively greater and moral than offset the effect of the
expected larger supplies as compared with a y.ar earlier.
Usually at this season of the year, egg prices rise faster than
feed prices. However, during the past 2 months feed prices have risen
faster than egg prices. For the week ending September 23, 2.5 dozen more
eggs were required to buy 100 pounds of poultry rntion at Chicago than in
the corresponding week in 1935. It is expected that more eggs will be
required to buy 100 pounds of feed during the remainder of 1939 than were
required last year end possibly more than the 1928-37 average.
As a result of the less favorable food-egg ratio, hatchings during
1940 may be somewhat smaller than the relatively large hatch of 1939.
Production of turkeys this year is the largest on record 22 per-
cent more than in 1938, and 15 percent above the previous record high year
in 1936. Turkeys are expected to provc less profitable to producers this
fall than last. This may tend to curtail turkey production next year.
Since exports and imports of poultry and eggs have never repre-
sented more than a very small proportion of domestic production, it is
not expected that the war will h-av? much direct effect on the poultry and
egg industry. The general stimulus to domestic business activity and con-
sumer incomes will, however, add to the domestic demand for poultry and eggs.
In contrast to the usual seasonal decline in the number of eggs re-
quired to buy 100 pounds of poultr; feed, the number increased from 5.76
dozen (based on Chicago prices) for the week ending July 29 to 7.08 dozen
for the week ending September 9. By the week ending September 23, the num-
ber had declined to 6.66 dozen. The rise in the feed-egg ratio was largely
a result of increasing feed prices, wiuich were only partially offset by in-
creased eg, prices during September. It is expected that more eggs will
be required to buy 100 pounds of feed during the remainder of 1939 than
were required last year and possibly more than the 1928-37 average number.
During the 4 weeks ending September 23, 59 percent more eggs than a year
earlier were required to purchase 100 pounds of feed and 12 percent more
than the 10-year average for the corresponding week.
Feed-e s ratio at Chicago
(Dozens of eggs r:quireil to buy 100 pounds of poultry ration)
Week ending as of 1939
Year :Ma.. :June:Aug. Sept. Szpt. :Sept. Sept. Sept.:Oct.:Oct. :Oct.: Dec.
: 25 : 24 : 26 : 2 : 9 : 16 :23 : 30 : 7 : 14 : 21 : 23
:Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz.
190d-37:6.51 6.87 6.26 6.06 5.9h 5.81 5-79 5.63 5.19 5.10 4.89 4.61
1938 :6.56 5.56 4.57 4.26 4.o4 4.16 4.13 4.10 3.91 3.71 3.71 4.36
1939 :6.28 6.18 6.33 6.13 7.08 6.59 6.66
The total supply of all food grains for the 1939-40 marketing season
is expected to be about the sPne as a year earlier and about 4 percent above
the 1928-32 average. However, numbers of livestock on farms, including
poultry, are larger this year than last so that the supply per grain-con-
suning animal unit will be about 6 percent below last year, but about 6
percent above the 5-year average. The possible increase in the export de-
mand for certain types of livestock and livestock products, as a result of
the war, nay tend to increase the domestic demand for feeds.
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During and after the World War the poultry industry was greatly
affected by changes in relative prices associated with the rise and fall
of the general price level. From 1915 to 1918, a period of generally
rising prices, feed prices rose fast-r than did cLhicken end egg prices,
so that pcultrynen were in a relativ'.,- unfavorable position. This is
shown on the cover page. In 1921, following the war, feud prices dropped
muc4 more shtv.rply than did chicken an :ia. gg prices and from 1921 to 1923
poultrym-n ':eri in a relatively favorrbic position. If the general price
level should chanr. rati-ily during the -oresjnt war, feed cnsts may be
high in relation to poultry and ejg prices during most of the period of
incrcnasiif orices -.nd lo-.' duri i most of aw.y subsequent period of de-
clinirng rit..e. Duri-L the co.Lrs-: of the next 6 to 12 months, however,
only a modc--..t incr.z~se is t,.he general lcv.l of commodity prices is
Sp h-.tc.: t i;gs
Because of the less favorable frc_-6:g ratio, hatchiings in the
spring of l1'O mar be so.-ewhi.t small -r than the relatively laKrg? hatch
of 1939. Sinc2 1925, e 3-year cycle i:; cr.icken numbers has bcEn evident.
This cyclic'fl tenr.dery is a further factor poi.-.r-iL- to a smaller hatch
During ; Septerber, receipts of dressed poultry at thi 4 principal
markets wer 9 percent larger than in the corresponding weeks of 1938 and
11 percent above the 1928-37 av:rae:. Rcceiptb during the remainder of
1939 and early 19'40 will probably continue larger than in the correspond-
ing wooks of th. 1938-39 markctin.; season because of the larger number of
hens and yo'unrt chicke:.s on i-nd a.nd the lar:e increase in turkey production.
Receipts in the latter half of 1940 may be somewhat smaller than in 1939
because of the expected smaller hatcn.
Receints of &r:ssad :;-..oltry, at b markets
(Now York, Chicago, Philadeilphia, Boston)
: W.ek ending as of 1939
Year : Aug. : Soet.: Sept.: Sept.: Sept.: Sept.: Oct. : Oct. : Nov.
: 26 : 2 : 9 : 16 : 23 : 30 : 7 : 14 : 25
:1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
:pounds porneds pounds poun,s nconds pounds pounds pounds pounds
1928-37:5,153 5,437 5,332 5,602 6,161 6,351 6,733 6,980 28,385
1938 :h,6g4 .5,005 5,382 5,972 6,66s 6,981 7,676 8,050 17,101
1939 :5,624 6,081 5,18g 6,4h3 7,371
Fall and winter broilers
Some further increase in the number of fall and winter broilers to be
raised in the principal commercial broiler-producing areas in the East is in
prospect for the coming fall and winter, according to reports received from
representative producers. Despite the fact that the past season was one of
record high production and that prices were comparatively low, many commercial
producers apparently were able to realize some profit in their operations.
This was possible partly because of low feed prices and partly through ef-
ficient management resulting from commercial operations. The probable in-
crease in feed costs Will tend to -educe present indications of production for
the coming season. Should any material expansion of production occur, it
probably will rnorc than offset any price advantage to be gained through a more
favorable, demand situation.
As measured at the 26 major storing cities, a slight net out-of-storage
movement of frozen poultry has continued during September. Last year a slight
net into-storage movement occurred in that month. By early October the net
into-storagc season will probably be well under way.
The quartity of poultry in storage on September 23 was 4 percent above
last year and 14 nercon+ above the 1928-37 average, largely as a result of
increased stocks cf hons and turkeys. With marketing of poultry this fall
expected to exco:-d those of 1938, it is likely that storage stocks by
January 1, 1940 will alsc oxceo.d those of a y-.ar earlier.
The intc-storago movement of "poultry during the latter part of 1940 is
expected to be srmll:r than that of 1939.
Storage stocks of frozen poultry at 26 markets
Y VWeek ending as of 1939
YrJn,. 7 : Aug. 26 : Sept. 23
S 1,000 pound pounds 1,000 pourda 1,000 pounds
A ,o rago,
1928-37 96,964 34,215 36,918
1938 93,601 39,070 40,250
1939 104,313 44,576 41,906
Chicken price s
In r'?Zpi.:c to the general rise in commodity prices, chicken prices
rose by mora- th".n the usual seasonal amount between August 15 and September 15.
Prices r:ccived by fr.rreors for chickens increased 0.6 cents per pound this
year betr:oon there two datis, whereas last year prices rose only 0.1 cents,
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and th-, 1928-37 average ris: was 0.3 ccnts. Prices generally rise slightly in
September because of the important J:wish holidays.
Chicken prices on September 15 wer, r..7 cents bclow prices on the same
date a year ago and were 2.4 cents p:. cound below'. the 1928-37 Scotember 15
average. The affect on prices of lTrgcr n.arkeL supplies of poultry during the
remainder of 1939 .vill b- partly oefsct by the .:ff',-ct of larger consumer in-
comes. During the spring of 1940, the effect of ini-cre-ascd consumer incomes
may more thnai offset thce -ffcct of 1,arger supplies.
Durlnr the "l.rld '".r, chicken :prices foljcvwed the same general trend as
did all v',, .1 -:1.,'. .r..od p -Ccs, Fo.cvc.r, chickor prices dropped much less
sharply in I'Ll tk-n did egg cr foc,'' rriccs in general and continued above the
othjr prices through 1,-23 and liter y'.-.rs.
Price per pound received by farmers for chickens
: Fob. : Apr. : Tune : J
ar : 15 : 15 : 15 :
: C'-nLs ,:ts Cc:nts C
1928-37 : 15.4 16.4 16.1
uly : Aug. : Sept.: Oct. : Nov. : Dec.
15 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15
'r.nt ntsnts C-.nts Cents Cents Cents
15.8 15.7 16.0 15.4 14.9 14.4
17.6 16.9 16.4
13.6 13.6 13.6
'iho number of turkeys raised in 1939 was almost 32,000,000 birds, which
was 22 porc. t more th.-an re raised in 1938 and 15 pcrcmnt m-cre than the
previous record creo ocf, 1936. Lvargc increases were reported in all areas. The
average live r:eight of turkeys iwhen rm.rke.tcd is expectr-d to be slightly above
that of la..-.t year. Although markctings began unusually o.rly this ye.r, the
proportion of the crop to. be marklctrd up to the end of Ievember will be small-
or than last ycar.
Irdicatcd Iumber of Turkeys Raised
TUumber Raised : 1939 as
Region : 1931-35 : 1938 1939 i/ : a percent
: average : : of 1938
Thou- hands Thnus-i-ed s Thousands Perc.:nt
North Atlantic 1,054 1,661 2,021 122
East North Contral : 1,7'0 2,602 3,382 126
West Iorth Central : 5,736 7,929 9,942 127
South Atlantic 1,956 2,166 2,445 113
South Central : 5,946 5,869 6,648 113
Western 4,694 6,062 7,519 124
United Statcs : 21,086 26,279 31,957 122
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The pre-ent situation indicates that the turkey deal this fall
will be less profitable to producers than in 1939. Prices received by
farmers for turkeys on September 15 were 15.14 cents per pound, or 0.6
cents per pound lower than last year, and the price effects of larger
marketing du'LrinL the remainder of the season may be only partly offset
by the effect of larger consumer incomes. Feed costs, on the whole, may
be about the spae as last year. Feed prices are higher than last year
at present but were lower earlier in the year.
The less favorable outcome of the turkey deal this year and the
prospective hi'jh r feci costs next year will probably result in a smaller
production 6f turkeys in 1940.
The moderate gains of recent months in conditions affecting the
domestic domazad for farm products -were accelerated during September.
Further imnprovcmen.nt in busii.oss activity and consumer purchasing power
is anticipated for the remainder o- 1939.
The most logical appraisal of the longer time outlook at the
moment appears to be: (1) greater rccov-ry than had been exn'cted in
domestic industrial production luring the rne:-t few months o.s inventories
are built up in anticipation of aR-.-ancirng prices; (2) some rer.djustment
following this initial spurt, until consumer buying and manufacturing
activities can be brought into better bolancD under the new conditions
created by the war, and the anticipated incrcanes in export trade can be
actually r-alized; followed. by (3) .. substantial lift in production
predicted in par-t on zi consiicrable increase in exports both actual and
relative. to our total production.
Ineo n,:ib-.::rs of nona:.ricultur.al income (1924-29 = 100,
adju-.tcd for seasonal variation)
Year : Jan. : Mir. : May : June : July : Aug. :Sept. Oct. : Nov.
19?S-37 ..: S6.9 86.7 86.5 g6.4 s6.6 S6.6 86.4 86.2 S6.1
1937 ....... : 92.6 94.8 96.s 96.g 97.9 98.2 96.9 96.4 94.6
1938 .......: 91.2 69.5 s7.5 37.3 37.6 s0.o 90.1 90.5 91.9
1939 ....... : 92.4 92.2 91.1 92.9 93.0 1/94.0
It is unlikely th-.t ,--:.orts of poultry meats or of eggs and egg
products will incroesc within the no.;t ycr to a sufficient extent to
affect price eri Imports of poultry and egg products arc like-
wise of little importamce.
The tabrle below shows ho'." c-.or,:-t V..ri.d during the World 17r.
Exports of sh-:11 z3-s inc-'en.z-d rapidlyZ, but the pc.ak in cxportr, was not
reached until the fisc,.l year 1919-20. In none of the years during or
-immcdi-Y.tcly, following th- wir did tbh value of cxportz of eggs and egg
products rr-.nscrnt nor.;, than LI percent of the cash. farm income from cggs.
Expoorts of oultr., nrat "'or of cv..n less ir.oj't-aice. There is little
reason to Lt licv Th.at c::orts of poultry end .gg products will increase
to a gr.. at-r -::t ..-t in tic o.r-csnt wn-: thnn in the last var. Production
of frozen *.-. rid c-. .;oul b- ex :irdced quickly, but it is not c:-pcctcd
that arn; con ide'rabic r oria o0' the domcztic egg production will be
exported in 'his f-:rm, '; 1 -.at within n the next ycur.
United Stitcs c:..-or's r" egg- a.nd -.- products Lend of poultry meat,
fiscr.i '-:ar b..ginni.:g Jul;,' 1, 1)u9-20
: : : V:luac : : Value is
Ye:ar : : ,ports :Va-lue of :a porcont : Value of : percent
begin- : ELports:as n pcr-c::-'ortz : of the : c:- : of the
ning : of : ccrt of :of cg-r : vr-luc of : ports : vrluc of
July 1 : shell :ll :Is :rn1 neg : -.ll eCJs : of : all
e: .Z : sold by :products : sold by : poul- : chickens
: : f.irmrs : : farm- : try : sold by
: : : orc : m',tats : farmers
: 1,0CO 1,000 1,000
dozen PFrc.nr.t do r-11-. r P-.rccnt dollars Percent
1914 ....: 20,7fl
1915 ....: 26,396
1916 ....: 24,926
1917 ....: 1 ,96'9
1918 .... ,33 0 5
1919 ....: 3t, 327
1920 ....: 2',90SO
Lo.,ir.t flock size
The arvrra.:e si're of lv;ying flocks increancd slijitly from August 1
to September 1. Usually the flock size res.,ches a lov point during Aug.ust.
Numbers on h.-.i on Scpt ember 1 a'cr,' 4 percent above last year but 2 per-
cent below the 1923-37 average.
The incr-nanc ov.:r last yuer in the number of pullets entering the
laying flocks indicates that flocks will be sorI.c-vhct larger during the
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PES-34 10 -
coming year thn2r during 1939. However, the less favorable feed-egg
ratio will ter:d to lessen the increase in flock size.
Average number of laying ,hons per farm
floc: or. the first day of the month
Ye--r Mar. : June : July : Ane. : Sept.1 Oct. : Nov. : Dec.
: 9 9 .
: inbor 1l Tm-r Pa.Liber Nunber Numnb.r Thunmbr ITu'uber Number
1928-37 .: 2'.3 70.9 6.8 G64.2 63.5 68.6 73.5 79.8
1937 ......: so.C 61.5 63.6 62.1 59.9 64.3 69.3 74.4
1.. ......: 7. 6.0 S.6 59.3 59.8 65.6 72.5 78.0
1i39 ......: 79.- ;3.5 64.3 61.3 62.1
Z : >Tu- t i-on
On S1cjten'r 1, cgg prod.uctionr- per hen was 2 percent above last
year. The rate of lay exceeded that for tany other September 1 on record
except 1937 and was 10 percent ab:ve the 1923-37 average. The rate of
lay dlu-irn. t:'. reaincr of 1939 will probably continue *well above the
10-y-ar av -rre-.
Tota.l c-;: production per farn floak or. S-ptembor 1 was 5 percent
ibove last yrar and 7 percent acove the 10-y-ar average. With some in-
crease inlicarci in the nuz-.Ir of l'.yors next ycar and no groat change
probable in the rr:.te of lay rer bird, total erg production during the con-
ing ye'c.r may he clithtly larger thin in 1939, barring unfavorable winter
B .gs 1 iV p'r 103 hens and pullets of Vlying a';o in farm
flocks on the first dny of the month
Year I Mrr. Jur.c July Au e. Sept. Oct. Nov Dec.
,:.L- ,bcr I u-bc er Thu.ibe-r Nuinber lTumbcr !itmber Nunber Number
1928-37 ..: 37.7 50.1 42.8 7.1 32.7 25.5 1S.1 15.2
1937 ......: 39.2 52.5 4.4 4o0.4 36.1 28.8 21.1 iS.6
1933 ......: 42.2 52.9 46.5 41.2 35.3 28.2 22.3 19.9
1939 ......: 41.4 52.4 45.9 40.4 36.0
Dlurirn the. World W-r, as.3 a result of the unfavorablefood-egg ratio,
farm production -f cr-s droap-d off slightly. However, with the favorable
feed-a tc ratio which -:-isted iu.cedinatly follow-.ing the war, egg production
incrc-.ned rapidly. Thcs chan--s are shown in one of the cover charts.
PES-34 11 -
Since the poultry industry is much raore cornercializcd now than it was be-
fore 1920, particularly .rith rcZspct to hatching, production is likely to
respond more quickly to favorable or urif:eor.blc relationships betwecn feed
and *Egg prices.
E- market ings
R.-icoifpts c-f egs .nt the fuir -rinci'al iarkcts continue to decline
from the s:?:con-.l Teoak reached in Ma,-y. Daring Srptcmb;r, receipts wcro
12 percent aborc r.-ceipte a yc-r 'o but S p-_'ccit bclow; the 1928-37 an-erage
for those -nei,:s. cause of the cropcted Irrg.r egg production, receipts in
1940 n iy bL, slightly larger th-an in 1939.
Rcc 'ipts of -ggs at 4 mark-ets
_(T.--: York. Clhi cigo Philadelnhi Boston)
*: We:k .ndilr,_ asW of 193.9
Year : Au. : S___t. : Oct. : Nov.
___2b_ :6: 29 :lb : 2L 1_ -: 125
:1 I,c'0 1,0'00 1,0o''0 1,000 1,C000 1,0 CC 1,000 1,0c'C 1,000
:ce.Ls:s crzes cases cases cftseZ cases cases cases c.ses
1923-37 : 202.6 201.6 18S.S 107.5 186.4 175.1 172.1 152.6 125.3
193J ....: 163.9 150.4 144.S 163.7 160.9 13C.0 142.5 lh.l1 113.9
1939 ....: 133.6 187.4 173.3 16S3. 176.2
Combined holdings of shell and frozen cej- on Spt,-.ubr 1 this yo-.r
were 10 pa.rc2nt above lAst year but 9 percent boloer- the 1925-37 average.
The out-of-stor'e -.ge movement is nor we7:ll und.,rr-.7n; and, during the p-.st month,
has been ?.bout equal to the move-.-nent in the s.j.e period last '.:ar.
In 1930, stora~-e e-.s rerrescnt.,d 30 ,crccnt nf the total cgrs con-
sumed off fr.rT.is in the monthss from Stiptem'br to Decnmber. Storlage cg_
were most important in November, vhen they rp.rezented 3b percc::t of all
eggs consumed off firms. Thus stock of s-.hall and frozen c .-s- have an iz-
portant eff,-ct on fall and early winter e pric-s.
Storage stocks of e.m.s at 26 r.ia.rkets
: Week endingg rs of 1939
Year :Storage : Out-of-storaze mo-.encnt, Sept. : Storage
:stocks : 2 9 : 6 :3 : stocks
:Aug. 26 .: : : : : S pt. 30
: 1,000 1,000 000 1 ,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
: c.ses cas s cases cases cases c, ss cac.es
1929-37 : 5,794 112 132 11C 192 219 4,953
1938 .....: 4,448 160 193 1S9 136 172 3,514
1939 .....: 4,745 39 156 203 163
1938 .....: 2,141 46 39 71 77 44 1,S64
1939 .....: 2,30 29 337 64 74
uMvnrall T Ul- FLORIDA
PES-3 _.2 3 1262 08903 9513
Prices received ty farmers for eggs increased 3.1 cents per dozen .
tetweer August 15 and Septerber 15, which was almost 1 cent less than last
year ari slightly less than the 1928-37 average increase between these_ two-
Egg prices on September 15 continued over 4 cents per dozen -below .
last year and over 3 cents lelow the 10-year average for Septemboer 1. Th -
effect on prices of larger s-_tplies of eggs during the remainder of 1940
will be partly cffset 17 the effect of larger consumer incomes. By early
1940 the effect cf increased consumer incomes may be relatively greater and
rore than clffset :'-.e effect of any probable increase in production as com-
pared rith a year earlier.
hiring and im-ediately following the World War, egg prices followed
the sare general trend as did all wholesale food prices.
Price cer dozen received by farmers for eggs
Year : Fet. : Acr. :June :July : Aug.: Sept.: Oct. : Nov. : Dec.
: 15 1 5 :15 : 15 : 1 : 15 : 15: 15 1 15
:Cents Cents Cents Gents Gents Cents Cents Centw: Cents.
Average : "
1928-37 ..: 21,6 17,4 17,4 18.7 2C.6 23.9 27.0 31.1 30,3
1937 .... 2C.1 2.1 176 19.4 2C.4 22.9 25.2 28.0 26.0
1938 .... 16.L 15.9 18.2 15.3 21.C 24.9 27.1 29.0 27.9
1939 .... : 16.7 15.5 14.3 16.5 17.5 20.6