^S I T U AT I ON
BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PEM-51 MARCH 1941
IN THIS ISSUE:
TURKEY OUTLOOK FOR 1941.
DOWNWARD TREND IN COST OF PRODUCING
EGGS, BY R. 0. JENNINGS
CHICKS AND YOUNG CHICKENS PER FARM FLOCK
ON JUNE 1. UNITED STATES, 1927-40
iU.6.DEPARTHENT OF. AGRICULTURE
1931 1933 1935 1937 1939 1941
NEG. 31505 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
: FTHE CHANGE FROM THE PRECEDING YEAR IN THE NUMBER OF CHICKS AND
YOUNG CHICKENS PER FARM FLOCK ON JUNE I IS A GOOD INDICATION OF THE
CHANGEE IN THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CHICKENS RAISED ON FARMS. SINCE 1927,
THE NUMBER OF CHICKS AND YOUNG CHICKENS ON FARMS JUNE I HAS FOLLOWED A
FAIRLY REGULAR 3-YEAR CYCLE, INCREASING FOR 2 YEARS FOLLOWING A I-YEAR
DECLINE. WITH A 12-PERCENT DECLINE FROM A YEAR EARLIER IN THE NUMBER
: OFCHICKENS RAISED IN 1940 AND WITH THE FEED-EGG RATIO NOW MORE FAVOR-
ABLE THAN A YEAR AGO, IT IS EXPECTED THAT FROM 5 PERCENT TO 10 PERCENT
MORt CHICKENS WILL BE RAISED ON FARMS IN 1941 THAN IN 1940.
THE EGG SITUATION AT A GLANCE.
I MILLIONS I
H 12251 1 225 .. .
JAN. APR. JULY OCT. JAN. APR. JULY OCT.
M S DATA. EXCEPT NONAGRICULTURAL INCOME INDEX NUMBERS, ADJUSTED FOR SEASONAL VARIATION
'&FIRST OF THE MONTH. EXCLUDING S. M. A. HOLDINGS. BEGINNING APRIL I.1940
U.S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NEG 31961 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIC
I MILLIONS I
I MILLIONS I
THE POULTRY AN D EGG SIT UAT ION
From 5 to 10 percent more chickens are expected to be raised on farms
in 1941 thin in 1940, and a further expansion of the commercial broiler indus-
try is in prospect. Commercial broiler production in January and February of
this year appears to have been the largest on record for those months. The
shift from home to commercial hatching seems to be continuing. Farmers?
spring intentions indicate that 9 percent more chic;:s will be purchased in
1941 than in 1940.
Supplies of turkey meat for 1941 may be about the same as in 1940.
Farmers' February 1 intentions indicate that about 3 percent fewer poults will
be started this year than last. With normal weather conditions, however, the
death loss may be enough less this year than last. to result in the production
of about the same number of turkeys. Storage stocks of turkeys on March 1
were about 5 million pounds smaller than a year earlier. With larger consumer
incomes in prospect this year than last and consuriers now more accustomed to
eating turkeys throughout the year, the demand for turkeys in 1941 is expected
to be stronger than in 1940, and prices received by farmers may average some-
Egg production this spring and comin"- summer is now expected to be
about the s me as a year earlier. The number of layers on farms is 3 percent
smaller, but egj production per layer is continuing at a much hither than av-
erage rate, partly because of the favorable weather through most of the winter
and perhaps partly because of the large supplies of all feeds and the rela-
tively lower prices for high protein feeds. Into-storage movements for both
shell and frozen eggs began in early I.arch. Stora e demand for eggs is ex-
pected to be slightly stronger this season than last.
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Primarily because of the stronger ccr.c-suer dearr:' this year than last,
egg prices for i'141 are expected to avera%-e b'h.r t!,nn ir 1940. wholesalel e
eg. prices declined shir5ly after tie riddle of February but r.iore recently
have improved sor:ewhat and prices no are s'i'-. tly hi.'her than a year ago.
With the r.,asonal decline in e7- prices coming earlier now t',an a decade or
more a;o, the decline from Lnd-February to miid-iarch has been reduced. On
March 17, the Fet-rail Surplus Commoditie. Cc-r.iration announced that it will
receive an- consider offers for the sale of fresh shell1 egg- throughout the
continent :1 United states .
Pecci .ts of live poultry at primary markets Li the Middle est and re-
ceipts of dresser .r.ultv: at principal markets are continuing smaller than a
year earlier. Reflecting these smaller faiTn marketinr-s of live poultry and
continued heavy consu.ipti'n of poultry meat, the net out-of-storage movement
of fro-en jzoultry has been lar'-er than a year earlier. The ave.ra-e price re-
ceived by farmers for c,"Lc'ens in mi-I-February v:as about 2 cents higher than a
year earlier and is expected to average hit].er this year than last because of
the stronger consumer der-ynd.
1.arcl 20, 1941
Fror. mid-Januar:. t., about Larch 1 wv.holesale e,-;7 prices at Chicayo were
well beklo' those of a ye-:r earlier and, although! the cost of feed also was
lower, the feed-e_: ratio until iarch 1 was ..uch less fa-.or-ble to egg produc-
ers than during the corresponding period in 1940. For the week ended Harch 8,
however, tr.e price of eggs was slightly higher than a year earlier and the
cost of feed continued lower, so that the feed-egg ratio was ,ore favorable to
producers than .in the first week of :.arch last year. The ratio is expected to
average more favorable than a year earlier during the important e,. -producing
months this spring and coming summer.
The 61-cent loar. available on corn throughout the 1940-4,1 marketing
year -aill limit any price decline for corn, while the policy of the Government
to make a' ailable for sale all corn ovned by the Commodity Credit Co-poration
at 65 to 6'. cents per bushel will tend to limit any advance. Oats and brley
prices will be influenced by prospects for 1941 crops, but the extent of any
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fluctuations will be limited on the downside by the corn loan program and on
the upside by the large supplies of feed grains.
Supplies of all byproduct feeds are much above the average of recent
years, and prices are 3-6 dollars per ton lower nov: than a year ago. The
quantity of high-protein feeds available for domestic consumption has been
increased by curtailment of exports to continental Europe.
Feed-egg ratio at Chicago
(Dozens of eggs required to buy 100 pounds of poultry ration)
: Week ending as of 19.
Year : Jan. : Feb. : Mar. : Apr. : June:Sept.
: 25 : 15 : 22 : 1 : 8 : 15 : 22 : 29 : 5 : 12 : 28 : 27
: Doz. Doz. Eoz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz.
1930-39: 5.70 5.91 6.06 6.32 6.32 6.30 6.40 6.60 6.69 6.77 6.86 5.65
1939 : 6.65 6.07 6.21 6.38 6.19 6.05 6.28 6.35 6.39 6.55 6.71 6.39
1940 :5.38 5.93 6.23 6.98 7.56 7.37 7.51 7.59 7.49 7.84 7.57 6.02
1941 : 7.16 7.11 7.48 7.38 7.36 7.26
The number of chicl:s produced by commercial hatcheries during January
and February was about half again as large as the output a year earlier and
about the same as the record high January-February output in 1939. tLost of
the chicks hatched during these months are used for producing broilers
rather than for producing pullets for flock replacement purposes. Special-
ized broiler production is increasing in areas adjacent to many large cities
as well as in important broiler areas. Broiler prices during the past sev-
eral months have been much higher than a year earlier while feed prices have
been about the same.
Beginning in early arch, an increasing proportion of the chicks
hatched are purchased by farmers for producing pullets. According to re-
ports from crop correspondents, farmers intend to purchase or custom hatch
about 9 percent more chicks this year than in 1940. The results of the sur-
vey by geographic divisions are shown in the following table. In addition
Intended purchases of baby chicks, 1941 as a percenta-e of 1940 I/
Geographic area Number of :Intended purchases as
: producers reporting :a percentage of 1940
: Number Percent
New England ............... 404 110
Middle Atlantic ............ 1,715 107
East North Central ........: 3,956 103
West North Central ........ : 6,442 106
South Atlantic ............ : 3,184 112
East South Central ........: 2,431 115
West South Central ........: 2,982 123
Rocky mountain ............: 1,608 115
Pacific Coast ............. : 1,339 116
United States ..........: 24,061 _109
V/ Including custom-hatched chicks.
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to chicks purchased front hatcheries, farmers home hatch a considerable por-
ticn cf the total number of chickens raised. Although the number hatched at
home has been declining each year, it amounted in 1940 to more than one-
fourtr. of the c!i ckens r.iaed on farms. If the downward trend in home hatch-
in! cottir.ue: this year, it will partly offset any increase in chic;k pur-
c;iases. If t:;e inc.icated in.crease of 9 percent in purchases from hatcheries
materializes, the inc-ease in the total n rber of chickens raised will be
lers t.t.a. 9 percent because of the probability of a further decrease in home
hatchings t'.is year.
On the basis of the relation of the change from a year earlier in the
October-!;arcl. Chicaro feed-egg ratio to the change in the number of chickens
on farras the following June 1, only a slight increase in the number of
chick-:ns raise is indicated for this year. However, in view of the large
decli.e in the n'uiber of chickens raised last year ar.d the more favorable
feed!-r7- ratio no.: than a year earlier, the number of chici:ens raised on
farms s.ay be from 5 to 10 percent larger this year than last. Commercial
hatchery output may increase by a greater percentage since farmers probably
will buy a lar-er proportion of their chicks from hatcheries this year than
last. Chic:e.n great production also may increase by a greater percentage
than the r-.aber of chicicens raised because of the probable continued expan-
sion in specialized broiler production.
The number of layers on farms during February v,"as about 3 percent
smaller than a year earlier. But the rate of lay per hen to date this year
haz averaged much higher than a year earlier, and total egg production dur-
ing January and February was 14 percent larger than in the corresponding
months of 1940 and the largest on record for those months. Egg production
durin- the spring and coring summer is now expected to be aboat the same as
a year earlier.
The e clin in n-urners of layers on farms during the next few months
probably .':ill be about. the same as a year earlier, or a little less. But,
in the late sz.rer, sales of fowls by farmers -ayv increase considerably to
rnake roor for the lar-er numbers of pullets that will result from the ex-
rected larger h;tci. ti.is year than last.
I..-L'.ber of layers on farms, United States
Year : Jn. Feb.: Mar.: Apr.': ay June: July: Aug. :ept.: Oct.: Nov.' Dec.
: il. Mi!. Mil. Mil. VMil. lil. Mil. Mil. Mil. Mil. Mil. Mil.
1930-39: 332 325 315 301 284 267 253 246 256 278 300 322
1938 : 307 301 292 278 262 248 236 234 245 269 293 314
1939 322 316 306 292 276 260 246 242 253 279 305 326
1940 332 327 318 304 289 270 252 247 257 279 303 320
1941 : 324 318
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Average number of eggs produced per layer, United. States
Year Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. Mlay June- July Au..'Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
E No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Lo. ;o._ o. No.
1930-39 : 6.6 8.9 14.3 16.7 16.8 14.2 12.7 11.2 8.9 6.8 5.0 5.2
1938 : 7.9 9.9 15.4 17.5 17.3 14.9 13.6 11.8 9.4 7,5 5.9 6.4
1939 : 8.0 9.7 14.9 17.0 17.0 14.6 13.2 11.7 9.3 7.4 6.0 6.8
1940 : 7.2 9.0 14.4 16.5 17.0 14.8 13.4 11.8 9.7 7.9 6.2 6.8
1941 : 8.7 10.3
Total farm production of eggs, United States
Year Jan.: Fob.' Mar. Apr. ia:a June' July: Aug.'Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.
S2 : : : I :
: Mil. Mil. Mil. .Mil. Hil. Mil. Nil. 1:il. Mil. 111. Mil. Mil.
:cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases
1930-39 : 6.o 8.0 12.5 13.9 13.2 10.5 8.9 7.6 6.4 5,2 4.1 4.7
1938 s 6.7 8.3 12.5 13.5 12.6 10.3 8.9 7.6 6.4 5.6 4.8 5.5
1939 : 7.2 8.5 12.6 13.8 13.0 10.6 9.1 7.8 6.5 5.7 5.1 6.1
19 : 6.7 S.2 12.7 14.0 13.7 11.1 9.4 8.1 7.0 6.1 5.2 6.0
1941 : 7.9 9.1
On the basis of data for the 26 markets, storage stocks of shell
eggs apparently reached the seasonal low point during the week ended
March 1. United States storage stocks of privately owned shell eggs on
March 1 were about 200,000 cases larger than a year earlier. The Surplus
Marketing Administration on that date owned 16,000 cases or 5 percent of
the 298,000 cases of shell eggs in storage.
During the closing weeks of the out-of-storage season outmovements
of frozen eggs were smaller than a year earlier and stocks on March 1 were
a little larger than on March 1, 1940.
On the basis of the estimated storage margin for the storing sea-
son Just ended, storage demand apparently will be slightly stronger this
year than last. Data of storage margins published in the February issue
of this report showed an estimated storage margin of 2.4 cents for the
1940-41 season compared with less tnan a tenth of a cent for the
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Eggs: Storage stocks in the United States and
storage movement at 26 markets
:United States; Storage movement, week e idig as of 1941
Year : stocl:s : Feb. ; Mar. : Apr.
:Fpb. I: Zzr. 1: 22 : 1 : 8 : 15 : 22 9 : 5
: 1,000 1,0oc, 1,00 1,0 'O 1,000 1,000 1.000 1.000 1.000
Shell : cases cases cases cases cases cases cabes cases cases
1930-39: 278 182 -1) 17 83 146 203 275 341
1939 : 136 165 8 29 68 85 149 215 266
191'0 : 57 81 7 41 102 84 81 184 253
l' 1- :1/2721f 282 9 7 55 101
1930-39: 1,674 1,453 --- --- --- -
1979 : 1.438 1,271 -11 1 4 33 54 92 93
1qO : 1,607 1,088 -65 -98 -38 -21 27 42 91
q41l : 1,538 'l,289 -h7 -17 6 27
1 Excludes Surplus 1-Marketing Administration holdings as follows: Feb. 1,
25,000 cases; Mar. 1, 16,000 cases. 2/ Preliminary.
The average pricn, received by farmers for eggs Leclined about sea-
sonally from mid-January to mid-February in contrast to the contra-seasonal
increase between those dates in 1940. Wholesale egr prices declined sharp-
ly after the middle of February but more recently have increased slightly
and now are a little higher than a year ago. Prior to about a decade ago
egg prices reached a seasonal peak in December. But with increased produc-
tion in tne winter months the seasonal variation has been reduced and now
the annual peak in egg prices usually co-mes in November about a month
earlier t-an formerly. Because of this shift in the seasonal peak, the de-
cline in egg prices froq mid-February to mid-March has 'een reduced.
Primarily because of Lhe stron'=er consumer demand this year than last
egg prices for 1941 are expected to average higher than in 1940. Egg prices
in the spring months will be suTported to some extent by the indicated
slightly stronger storage demand this year than last,
On l:arch 17 thc Feleral Surplus Marketing Administration announced
that it ,ill receive and consider bids for the sale of fresh shell eggs
throughout the continental United States.
Price per dozen received by farmers for eggs, UnitoC States
Year Jan.: Feb.' lir.: Anr.: l-y :June "July ; Aug.'Sept.: Oct.@ lTov. Dec.
:Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
1930-39: 22. 18.8 16.1 lo.O 15.9 15.7 17.0 18.7 21.9 24.7 28.2 2G.3
1938 : 21.6 16.4 16.2 15.0 17.6 18.2 19.9 21.0 24.9 27.1 29.0 27.9
1939 : 18.8 16.7 16.0 15.5 1.2 111.9 16.5 17.5 20.6 22.9 25.8 20.5
1940 : 18.3 20.2 15.4 15.0 15.1 14.4 16.4 17.2 21.0 23.7 26.2 26.8
1941 a 19.7 16.8
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I POUNDS, FA
A M S DATA
HE POULTRY SITUATION
I ~ POUNDS
RECEIPTS OF POULTRY I MILLIOrNS
AT FOUR MARKETS -
1940 o -
41 1930-39 20
RM FEED-CHICKEN RATIO I MILLIONS I
>- ____ A average _
I I I POUNDS
,RM PRICE OF CHICKENS I MiLLIONS I
.t ,k I 20
APR. JULY OCT.
FIRST OF rHE MONTH
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
AT A GLANCE
JAN APR JULY OCT.
* INCLUDES BROILERS FRYERS AND ROASTERS
NEG 38962 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
Rec.eipts 0i dres.i p.'I. ry r t principal markets durin- the first
2-1/2 monr.,s of tnis ye-r' weie -.nailcr th-n in the sa.ie period last year.
Receipts during tr. next fEV ouitAs, no' v.er, are ex .-ctad to average
about the semne as taose a ye".r .rlier, mostly bec.ruse of 14:termfarket move-
ments of frozen pc'2ltry. Rlice it.s of live poultry at mimuestern primary
markets h-t. aver,-ed -".ler t.-r. a year earlier so far. in 1941 and are
not expect. a to e.- .ed t-.sce of 1,1-0 before the effects of this year's pros-
pective l1-rger ht-h ibe in to 7,,oi: i;.
Receipts of :.reseed poultry at fou-ir markets
(Jew York, Cnicoao, Philaielphia, Boston)
: LWeek ending aof 101-
Year : J-i. : Pe,.. :_____ ar. __: : July
: : 15 : : 1 : 15 : : 29 : 31 : 26
1i, : 2 .. I, 1, o ,.'.,0- 1.000 1,000 1,00o 1, i 0 1,000 1,000
:pouAveis acJn's poi .rr c'jrunds rounds pouncls oaond s pounds pounds pounds
1930-393 6,009 hI21 4,,024 4,023 3,703 3,853 3,829 3,60n 1,615 4,aSO
1939 : 6,020 3,685 3,;85 4,066 3,528 3,937 4,30O 3,368 5,668 6,948
1910 : 8,32g 5,168 5,150 4.,1:4 4,549 5,747 4,713 4,395 5,522 6,079
19i1 : 6,461 4,297 4,436 4,49 4,534 4,4o4
Reflecting small-r farn -.arketings and continued heavy consumption
of poultry meet, the total net out-of-stor-ge movement of frozen poultry
during January and Fe. r-i.- in. s 3aout double that of a yoer earlier. This
vas due mostly to larger net t.ithdranals of turkeys and 0-oils this year than
last. Nevertheless total s-cr-t.-e stocks of all poultry on ipUrch 1 were about
13 percent larger than o0., :arc-i 1, 1340. Stocks of fouls were 43 percent
larger than a year earli .r, stoc!:s of roastcrs 36 p,-nrccat larger, and stocks
of fryers bl perce t lir :ar, whereas stocks of broilers were slightly small-
er and stocks of turkeys ucre 7 percent smaller than on ..arch 1, 1940.
Poultry: Sto.-,;e suo:-ks in the United States
and stor.a i movement at 26 markets
: United St-.tes : Out-of-pstorage movement, ocek enAing as of 194h
Year : stoc's : FeN : Mr.__ : Apr.
?: eb. 1 : M:ar. 1 : 22 : : 8 : 15 : 22 : 29 :
1,?)0 1,j' 1, O'" 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
: o pouldS pounds po' mrds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
1930-39:123,248 10,2538 3,034 3,469 3,707 4,325 4,903 4,402 4,669
1939 :133,531 116,229 2,923 3,681 3,443 4,216 4,313 4,520 4,692
1980 :166,962 144.7h9 5,742 6,030 5,581 6.090 5,099 4,594 5,158
1941 :191,410/'163,347 7,598 5,332 6,095 6,174
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The Rvernge price received oy former for chickens increased about
seasonally from mil-Januairy to mid-February and in the latter month was
nearly 2 cents higher than a year earlier, but about one-fourth of a cent
below the 1930-39 average for that date. Chicken prices are exTected to
average higher in 1941 than in 1940 because of larger consumer incomes,
10 to 15 percent smaller supplies of pork, and the prospective smaller sup-
plics of poultry moat for the first half of the year. The effects on
prices of larger poultry meat asupplies in the latter half of the year, re-
sulting from the prospective larger hatch this year than list, are expected.
to be more than offset by larger consumer incomes.
Price per pound received by farmers for chickens,
Year : Jan.: Feb.: Mar.: Apr.: Imy :J-ne :July : Aug.:Sent.: Oct.: TDov.: Dec.
: l; : 15 : 15 : 19 : 1 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15
Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
1930-39: 14.O 14.2 14.U 15.0 3~.7 l1!.h 14.1i ]4.0 1.3 13.7 13.3 12.9
1938 : 16.7 15.0 15.9 16.2 16.1 15.7 15.0 1l.2 14.3 13.6 13.6 13.6
1939 : 14.0 14.2 14.3 14.4 13.9 13.4 13.7 13.0 13.6 12.7 12.4 11.7
1940 : 12.0 12.2 12.s 12.9 q1.6 13.3 13.6 13.4 13.7 13.3 13.1 13.0
1941 : 13.7 l4.0
OUILOCK FOR TURKEYS IN 1941
On the basis of farmrirs' reported intentions, turkey production
in 1941 may be about th cazse a. in 1940. Producers reported to the Agrt-;-
cultural Liarketing Service t.?.t they intend to home hatch the same number
of poults t.iis year as lost but to purchase about 5 percent fewer than in
1940. If tAese intentions are carried out, about 3 percent fewer poults
will be started this year than were started in 1940. With normal weather
conditions the death loss may; be enough less this year than last to result
in the production of about the same number of turkeys* Storage stocks of
turkeys on LMarch 1 were onl" slightly smaller than a year earlier. Thus
total supplies of turkey meat for 1941 may not be greatly different from
those in 1940.
Consumer demand during the 1941 turkey marketing season is expected
to be stronger than a -'ear earlier. Supplies of meats othor than poultry
are expected to be a little smaller this year than last because of the
prospective 10 to 15 percent reduction in hog slaughter. Feed costs for
turkeys may be about tie spme tniis year as in 1940. Tnus the situation
appears to be somewhat more favorable for producers tnian in early 1940.
(The feed situation is discussed in detail with the feed-egg ratio in the
first part of this issue).
PES-51 12 -
Turkey hens on hand ai.d poults intended to be started,
1941 as percentage of 1940
: : As percentage of 1940
:. urmber of : : Poults to : Poults to : Total
Geographic producers : Turkey : be bought : be home : poults
divisions or]in hens on
ons reporting : hand : from : hatched : to be
__ : hd :hatcheries i/j 2/ : started
: Number Percert Percent" Percert FercenT
North Atlantic ...: 728 73 102 103 102
East liorth Central: 625 80 95 98 97
VWest North Central: 1,714 84 98 96 97
South Atla:tic ...: 679 86 98 100 99
South Central ...: 6837 90 4 96 95
Western ..........: 1,191 86 86 107 96
United States .. 5.824 86 95 100 97
j/ Includes poults "custom hatched" for a fee from eggs supplied by the pro-
2/ Exclusive of poults being hatched by producers for sale as baby poults to
Ir 1939 about 33 million birds were produced, 25 percent more than in
1938 and l percent more than the previous record crop of 1936. Although
the eEtiratcd number of turkeys on farms in September 1940 was 1 percent
larger than in 1939, the number of the 1940 crop actually sold probably was
slightly smaller than a year earlier as a result of the severe November storm
which is estimated to have killed one and one-third million birds. Prices
received by farmers for turkeys increased relative to a year earlier during
1940 and, for the important turkey marketing months, averaged about the same
as in 1939. Feed costs during the 1940 turkey raising season also were about
the same as a year earlier Thus for those farmers v.ho escaped having
severe death losses or 'ho had the death losses covered by insurance, the
1940 operations probably were about as profitable as in the previous year.
Percentages of started poults lost during the grov.ing season are shown in
the following table for the past 4 years, by geographic divisions.
Young turkeys lost on farms as percentage of total number bought
and home hatched, by geographic divisions, 1937-40
1937 1938 I 1
: Percent Percent Pe
North Atlantic .......: 19 16
East North Central ...: 22 21
West North Central ...: 24 23
South Atlantic ......: 32 31
South Central ......: 36 38
Western ..............: 21 20
United States ...... 27.0 26.3
FES-51 13 -
Supply of turkey eggs for hatching
The estimated number of turkey breeder hens on forms February 1 was
14 percent smaller than a year earlier. The effects of this somller number
on the supCly of turkey" e-gs ior h~tchirg rasy be largely offset, hoc.ever, by
a slightly higher a-erage rate of lay oer ten and a fuller utilization of
the eggs this ye-.r *haii last. Weather conditions during the pst C monTUs
have been more fa'o-Rblr t'-an a year earlier for the proper dcvclopirLt of
turkey hens. In cp.r]y 194"0 a severe cold spell of several v.ee's during the
egg-producing season affected most of the country cast of the R2ocky Mountains.
StorcLPC st.- cks
1he outlook folr rar!:etrng the' turki'-ys in sttora-o is nor-.- favorable
this year tI-an lact. Alt'h-,cu-gh stocks on 'larch 1 wzre or.ly 7 percent simaill.r
than a '.,rar enrlitr (5' million pounds this year corip:.ared vith 64 million
on M'.trelh 1, C4', thi': .y:ur 's sto:'ago supply of' nor-L-"isc-rr.tod t':r:<-ys is
como3se0d. of a much larger prcpc.rtion of birds vwcihins' under 16 pnundr. A
survey as of ,ebruavy 1 indicrtod thr.t of the nr.n-'-viscorated turlkcys in
storug,-, 41 p rcent w>-iihod 16 pounds and c.vcr and 59 ncercnt w.-ighcd less
than 16 pounis, while on February 1 last y.ir thcs; p.rcontag.fs vr-rc 65 and
35 respectively. On Fntr"ur;' 1 this yocr cvizscratcd turkeys annid up about
13 p."re.cnt of the nurbcr of turkeys in stor-,gc. The stronger consumer demand
this yrc.r than 1.st and the fact that pconl. hav': become more accustomed to
eating turkey throughout the ycur arc additional frvorablc factors in this
year's turkey storage situation. The quartity of tur-:.ey most consumed during
the period February to Tovcmbcr in 1940, is the la.rfost on record for the
Price pe-r pound received by farmers for li-vr turk-ys, United States
: Ja:n. : Feb.: U'r.: Arr.: ..y : June : July: Aug.:3..pt.: Oct.: :Iov.: Dec.
Year : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 15 5 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 1.5 : 15
:Conts Cnits Cents Ccn+s Cents Cents C'-ntr C.:r.ts C..nts Cc.nts Cents Cents
1934-38: 15.8 15.7 15.4 15.3 14.6 14.0 13.? 13.9 14.6 15.5 16.9 17,6
1939 : 17.5 17.7 17.2 17.0 16.4 15.6 15.7 15.0 16.0 16.5 17.1 18.4
1939 : 18.3 17.5 17.6 16.9 15.0 14.7 14.4 14.3 15.4 15.3 16.0 15.6
1940 : 14.2 14.0 13.7 13.5 13.2 12.9 12.9 13.4 14.3 14.7 15.5 15 *.9
1941 : 15.5 15.1
DOMEST I C DEMAND
Conditions point to additional im.prevnmcnt in consumer demand for farm
products during th next several months but the gains from nrw on are likely
to be more gradual than during the last half of 1940. Industrial activity,
employment, and consumer incomes have risen sharply during the past year and
further rises arc rexpoeted during the last half of the ycar as n:w defense
plants come into production, but the increases in industrial production in
1941 probably will nrt bo so marked as the gains in 1940.
- 14 -
Index numbers of nonagricultural income
(1924-29 = 100, adjusted for seasonal variation)
Year Jan.: Feb., Mar., Apr.: Moy June. July: Aug.Soept.t Oct., Nov.: Doc.
1930-39: 83,4 83.1 63,4 82.9 82.4 83.6 82.7 82.5 82.1 82.3 82.3 82.7
1939 : 90.6 90.9 91.3 90.0 90.8 92.1 91.8 93.3 93.3 95.0 95.9 97.1
1940 : 96.9 96.2 95.9 95.3 96.C 97.4- 97.8 99.1 99.9 100.3 101.7 103.7
DCOWVARD TREND IN COSTS OF EGG PRODUCTION
The trend in the cost of producing eggs has been definitely downward
for 20 years. Lower fecd costs per dozen eggs have been responsible for
part of this decline, but some other costs also have fallen as farmers have
become more efficient in production methods. Some costs are higher. A con-
siderable share of the reduction has come from gCnerally larger production
per hen. T.: changes that have taken place in costs on some representative
types of poultry cntcrprisus are shown in figures 3 and 4.
The it-.ms of cost included in the cetimatos are feed, labor, deprecia-
tion and death loss, use of buildings, cquipmc-nt and land, interest, taxes
and miscellaneous costs. Since somm of these items arc long-term costs in-
curred by a poultry enterprise, the total coot choawn in the charts is higher
than the current cash cost.
The differences in the. estimated costs for the various areas and types
of production arc largcoly dii, to differences in the prices of feed. The
Pacific Coast has a lower feed price than the Iorthea.stern States. The lower
cost on the small commercial flocks of the Middle W:Vst, compared with the
commercial floc::s of the northeast, reflects mainly the lower feed prices in
the Corn BcltL. Wages anid some other costs items also are lower in the Middle
The average farm flock of Rocks or other haivy breeood in the western
Corn Bolt has a lower cost than the commercial flocks of Leghorn or other
light bresd of the eastern Corn Belt despite a much lower egg production per
hen in the western Corn B:1t. The principal reason is that probably 25 per-
cent of the fled for th.se small flocks is picked up by the flocks feod
that would otr.-:risc be: rr:tstd. Alsco, there is little or no depreciation
(except mort.]- i,) to ch.r'-- against the flock, because a hen of the heavy
breeds will br..& ,.carly vs much for meat after a yc.r as when first put into
the flock. Fc-ed cric.:s a-rc l..so lower in the western part of the Corn Belt
than in the c'astcr- part, r.nd more homo-grovn feed is used in the western area.
The diff:r.'.-ne:s in the aore costs of cfg production do not mcan that
ogg production l- .:-cs r-ith low: costs, such as the Corn Bolt, is more profit-
able than in ar. nir-ch high costs, siroo there is a wide range in quality
and prices of e:<. The f.rm flocks of the Middle West produce a large
EGGS: ESTIMATED COST OF PRODUCTION IN SPECIFIED AREAS. AND
PRICE RECEIVED BY FARMERS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1910-40
-- States, Eastern Corn Belt.
i Large flock.- / '' ( Small flock, light breed )
40 light breed /
( Large flock.
3 0 -
MS! I^ .L5*- ^\
1915 1920 1925 1930 1935 1940
U 5 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NEG 39009 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
FIGURE 3.- ESTIMATED COSTS FOR THE NORTHEASTERN STATES (SOLID LINE) WERE BASED ON A FLOCK
OF FROM 1,500 TO 2,000 LEGHORN HENS AND PULLETS. THESE COSTS PROBABLY ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF
THOSE OF LARGE SCALE PRODUCERS WHO ARE SOMEWHAT ABOVE THE AVERAGE OF THE AREA 'IN GENERAL
FOR THE EASTERN CORN BELT (CHAIN OF DOTS) COSTS WERE ESTIMATED FOR A FLOCK OF ABOUT 300
LEGHORNS OR OTHERS OF LIGHT BREED. THESE COSTS ARE NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AVERAGE OF FARM
FLOCKS RAISED IN THAT AREA BUT MAY BE REPRESENTATIVE OF POULTRY SIDELINE ENTERPRISES THAT
HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED TO A FAIRLY HIGH DEGREE OF EFFICIENCY.
COSTS FOR THE WESTERN CORN BELT (CROSS AND DASH LINE) WERE ESTIMATED FOR A FARM FLOCK OF
FROM 100 TO 150 BIRDS OF A HEAVY BREED SUCH AS PLYMOUTH ROCK OR WHITE ROCK. SUCH A FLOCK MAY
BE REPRESENTATIVE OF MOST FLOCKS IN THIS AREA WHERE POULTRY FARMING IS LESS SPECIALIZED THAN
IN OTHER AREAS.
FOR THE PACIFIC COAST STATES (DASH LINE) COSTS WERE ESTIMATED FOR A FLOCK OF FROM 1,000
TO 1,500 LEGHORN HENS AND PULLETS. THESE COSTS PROBABLY ARE MORE NEARLY REPRESENTATIVE OF
THOSE OF THE UPPER 50 PERCENT OF THE PRODUCERS THAN OF THE AVERAGE OF ALL FLOCKS IN THAT AREA.
THE AVERAGE ANNUAL PRICE RECEIVED BY FARMERS FOR EGGS IN THE UNITED STATES WAS INSERTED
FOR COMPARATIVE PURPOSES, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT SPECIFICALLY APPLICABLE TO ANY ONE REGION.
percentage of their eggs during the Cpring and summer months, and the price
received for them is lower than that received by the other types of producers
The cost of production is generally higher in the .Northeast than on
the Pacific Coast. The Pacific Coast producers have a larger transportation
charge for the eggs shipped East, probably amounting to 3 or 4 cents a dozen.
Owing to the increase in population in California, more eggs are used at home
and fewer shipped East than was true a few years ago. Consequently, those
producers on the Pacific Coast that have to depend on the East for a market
have to produce efficiently in order to meet the large cost of transportation
not incurred by Eastern producers.
The trend in cost of production of eggs has been definitely downward
since the middle 1920's for all four types of production. Significant among
the changes in cost tens during this period has been the lower level of
feed prices in the last 5 years than in the middle 1920's. Feed prices in
1938 and 1969 were only about two thirds those in the middle 1920's.
Also, egg production per hen in commercial flocks has been 20 percent
higher in recent years than it was 15 years ago. About 2 dozen more eggs are
produced per hen in iwell-managed flocks in the Vortheast now than 15 years
ago. This lowers the cost per dozen, since many cost items do not increase
with an increased rate of production. The quantity of feed consumed per bird
increases but not as fast as egg production, for about the same amount of
feed is required for body maintenance regardless of the number of eggs
This increase in egg production per hen is partly due to an increased
proportion of pullets in the laying flock. The percentage of pullets in the
flock in the fall has increased in ccmnercial flocks in the East. Since
birds in the pullet year generally lay around 50 eggs more than they do in
the second year as hens this increase in percentage of pullets is partly
responsible for the increase in the average erg production per hen.
This shift to a high percentage of pullets has not been without its
drawbacks. For several years, death losses among pullets increased. Ap-
parently that difficulty is now being controlled by better care and sanita-
tion, as death losses are now declining. Another drawback is that a flock
of a light breed from which pullets are culled out heavily and few hens kept
over has a high depreciation charCe. If pullets costing $1.25 are culled
out the first year and bring only 35 or 40 cents for meat, there is a cost of
85-90 tents each which is a heavy charge against the flock. If the bird is
kept for 2 years this annual cost is cut about in half. This cost is much
less with heavy breeds, as often a pullet or even a hen of a heavy breed will
bring nearly as much for meat as it cost when put into the flock as a pullet.
Another drawback to flocks with a high percentage of pullets has been
that the houses, other facilities, and labor are not fully utilized through-
out the year. If one has a plant that will carry 1,500 birds in the fall and'
the number is gradually reduced by culling until only 5(0 are left at the end
of the year, the average number carried during the year is 1,000. Thus, the
facilities are only two thirds utilized. Some poultrymen are meeting this
- 16 -
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ZO NT w o. = L o
- O o --F-
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obviou-sly high cost by grovi.nZ pullets throughout the year and immediately
replacing culled birds with pullets, this keeping the flock near maximum
size throughout the year.
In the minds of producers, bouever, the increased depreciation cost
due to an increase in pullet flocks over the last 11 or 15 years apparently
is more than offset by an increase in income resulting from a larger egg
production, much of which comes during the fall .nontkfs vihen egg prices are
An important cost item in the poultry enterprise is death loss. Be-
tween 15 and 20 percent of the number of pullets and her.s started in the
fall die during the following 12 months. A few years ago the rate was even
higher. Apparently the trend in death loss is now downward, but it is still
higher than it was 20 to 30 years ago. It is very high when compared with
that of other species of livestock. The death loss of mature sheep in farm
flocks is usually around 5-7 percent and of cattle 1-2 percent.
Changes affecting the incor..e of poultry producers are not limited to
changes in cost items. T"hanges in ir-thods of production in one area or one
type of producer affect other producers. The increase in the production of
fall and winter eggs in commercial floc:s has reduced the demand for storage
egf,s. This seems to have reacted cn far m flocks of the Middle West that
supply most of the eggs for storage. Average annual prices in Corn Belt
States are relatively lower than th,,' were 10-15 years ago, compared with
those in Eastern States. This is partly due to the reduced storage demand,
since the proportion of annual egg production sold in the spring and sumner
is lexr in the Corn Belt than in other areas.
Numbers of layers kept on farms in the Corn Belt declined gradually
from the late 1920's until the drought years, when they declined very sharp-
ly, especially in the West North Central States. Although these numbers have
increased somewhat since the drought, they are still well below the levels of
the early 1930's. Numbers of layers in the Eastern States, on the other hand,
have increased somewhat since ti.e nto 1920's and early 1930's.
-- Ralph D. Jennings.
- 18 -
- 19 -
IFIDE : CF SPECIAL Si.UhECTS DISCUSS': Ill THE
K'ULTRY AI'D :OGG ITU!.TIO.I
Outlook frr turke-, in 1941 ......................
Dornmr:ard trcnd in cost:- o'f e.q production ........
United States foreign trade in poultry products
in 19 C0 .......................................
Estimated storage mar-iLL on shell eggs per dozen,
average 1916-35 and 1925-34, annual 1935-40 ...
Geographic location of storage stocks of eggs ....
Geographic location of storage stoc;:s of poultry .
Factors affecting the average rrice received by
farmers for turkeys in the United States ......
Poultry and egg outlook for 1941 .................
Chick Hatchery Survey, 1037-38 ...................
A comparison-of four feed-eg ratios .............
Change in official index of seasonal variation of
farm eg, prices ..................................
Feed-eg7 ratio defined ...........................
Effects of the Uorld War and possible effects of
the present war ...............................
ii arch 1941
12 February 1941
Llay 1, 1940
4-7 i'overrmber 10, 1939
UNIVERt IFIT Of FILUNIA
3 1262 08904 0504