UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
TH-E P-OULTR-Y A N-D E-G-G S I T U A-T I O N
T HE PO0U LT RY A ND E GG SI T U ATIO N
FEED-EGG RATIO AT CHICAGO. 1925 TO DATE
u RgDMM~u 0 RI iL ng
YOUNG CHICKENS PER FARM FLOCK
ON JUNE 1. 1927-39
1927 1929 1931 1933 1935 1937 1939
U 5 DEPARTMENT or AGRICULTURE EG 310.o BUREAu or AGRICuLTURAL ECOhONtCS
THE NUMBER OF CHICKS AND YOUNG CHICKENS PER FARM FLOCK ON JUNE I
IS A MEASURE OF THE TOTAL HATCH. THE DOTTED LINES INDICATE THAT, ON
THE BASIS OF PAST EXPERIENCE, THE 1939 HATCH MAY BE FROM 2 TO 7 PER-
CENT GREATER THAN IN 1938. UNE REASON FOR THIS INDICATION IS THE 15
PERCENT REDujCTION IN TME OCTOBER-MARCH FEED-ECC RATIO FROM THAT OF A
YEAR EARLIER, AS SHOWN IN THE UPPER CHART.
MARCH 2, 1939
-I- ..S- dj&a Inue *. *r.' ,aei r r 1 -
THE POULTRY AND EGG SITUATION AT A GLANCE
q AVERAGE OF CORRESPONDING PERIODS. 1925 34-100)
SIZE OF LAYING FLOCK NONAGRICULTURAL
91 9 39 1 93- o ..1 0 0
95 ------9'----0 -I -
/ AT NEW YORK
S, / 1938
85 ------ 90 -
8 ---, -, ,, ,--
60 I- ,
SI FARM PRICE OF
60 RECEIPTS OF EGGS CHICKENS
AT NEW YORK i100 1 If
,1939 \ \
140 ------- ,1938
120 0 -- 9
I I I I
100 P9 %
1 ^-110 / FARM PRICE
,0PER 100 HENS 100
JAN. APR JULY OCT JAN APR JULY OCT.
U S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEG 35105 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
T HE POULT RY AND EGG S SITUATION
Market supplies of chickens in the last half of 1939 may be above
those of a year earlier, chiefly because of the larger hatch which may occur
this year as a result cf the more favorable feed-egg price relationship, ac-
cording to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
The decline in egg prices from January 15 to February 15 was less than
seasonal. The February feed-egg ratio was about unchanged from last month,
but was more favorable for production than in the same month last year. It
was still somewhat less favorable than the 10-year average fcr February, Egg
production per farm flcmk: on February 1 was only slightly above last year's
production for the same date.
Poultry marketing during February continued well above last year's as
a result of the heavier production of winter broilers in 1938 as compared with
1937, and possibly of larger marketing of hens and pullets culled from farm
flocks. Poultry marketing are expected to continue larger during the next few
months than a year earlier. Storage stocks of frozen poultry on February 1 also
were larger than a year ago. Part of the price depressing effects of these
larger supplies of poultry will be offset by the higher level of consumer in-
comes and demand compared with last year.
The cost of poultry feed relative to the price of eggs normally rises
frcm December to June. However, during the past 30 days the ratio has become
slightly more favorable for egg prcducticn. The actual level of the feed-egg
ratio for the week ended February 18 was less favorable than the 1925-34 aver-
age but more favorable than the ratio for the same week a year ago. For the
months October through February the ratio has averaged about 17 percent lower
than that of the same period in 1937-38.
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Feed-egg ratio at Chicago, as percenta-ge of weekly average,
: Week ending as of 1939
Year :Jan. :Jan. :Feb. :Feb. :Feb. :Feb. :Mar. :Mar. :;'ar. :May :Aug. :Nov.
: 21 : 28 : 4 :11 : 13 : 25 : 4 : 11 : 18 : 27 : 26 : 25
: Per- Fer- Per- Per- Per- Per- Per- Per- Per- Per- Per- Per-
: cent cent cent cjnt cent cent cent cent cent cent cent cent
1938 ,.:130.1 132.6 131.5 135.5 117.5 114.6 111.1 106.2 104.4 79.3 77.3 96.7
1939 ..:135.6 138,0 128.3 114.7 106.5
One important effect of this favorable change in the feed-egg ratio from
that of early 1938 may be an increase in the 1939 hatch, if past --:lationships
between changes in the ratio and in subsequent hatchings continue.
One indication of tendencies in the size of the hatch is the report of
commercial hatcheries.- For January this report showed an increase cf 58 per-
cent in the number of salable chicks h-tched compared with January 1938. The
increase in the number of cgEs s,;t during tU. month was 36 percent and advance
orders on February 1 were 29 percent above thi preceding year. Yuch of this
increase seems to have been for broiler production.
The change in the number of chicks and youni. chickens per farm flock on
June 1 is a good indication cf the ch^,ge in th. .size of the total hatch of that
year, including both farm and c.~mreir2.. Tijc chart on the first page of this
report shows how these numbers hav3 varied since 1927. P>aks and lows have oc-
curred at rather regular 3-year intervals. T'le dctted lines indicate the range
within which the 1I39 hatch mray full if past relationships continue.
This range is based on figure 2, which shows the relationship between
the change in the feed-egg ratio and the change in the number of chicks from
the year before. The percertace chargee in the. October-Iv!arch feed-egg ratio
has been compared with the pr', OrtajLL ciange in the hatch for tile years 1928-38.
Thus, with a 15 percent reduct icn from last season in the fe'd--g. ratio, as is
likely this season for the months October to Imarch, there is irddi.ated a 2 tn 7
percent increase in the hatch. The effects of many other circumstances which
influence the hatch keep this relationship from being f1ll'wed exactly in any
Poultry market ings
R,'ceipts of dressed poultry at new York in February 1939 w .:c about 15
percent larger than in Fpbruary 1938 but 15 percent below the 1925-34 February
average Poultry marketings during: the latter part of January increased con-
siderably over previous weeks. Reports from central western poultry buying sta-
tions indicate that part of this increEe ma'y have been a result of heavier
marketinCs of both fw,:l and young chac':ens influez,?r-d by leA January egg prices.
During the first half of 1939, receipts will probably continue larger than in
the first half of 1938 because of larger numbers of chickens on hand January 1.
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c NUMBER OF CHICKS, JUNE I
Ln (PERCENTAGE CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR)
P1 I L
o o-rim >
-1o Z C
C)m z 0
D OO mwi,
o oo z
m 0 0-<
-< 0 -
g / .D
Eeceipts of dressed poultry at New York
: Week ending
Year Jan. : Jan. : Feb. Feb. : Feb.
: 21 : 28 : 4 : 11 :18
:1,0CO .oc CO 1IOCO 1,000
: pouris pcurds pounds E cunds pound.
1925-34 : 3,047 32324 7.464 2,939 2,841
1938 : 2,485
1939 : 3,3?1
2,639 2,621 2,055 2,333
3,684 2,;62 2,632 2,460
as of 1939
: Feb. : Mar.
: 25 : 4
s pounds pounds
2,432 2,338 2,196 2,245
2,340 1,729 1,385 2,221
Stocks cf frozen poultry in the United States on February 1, 1939 were 17
percent abc've stccks of a yel.r earlier but 24 percent below the record stocks on
January 1, 1137. Frozen pcultry, stored during the period from September to
January, is an important source cf supplies fcr consumption during the first half
of the year when receipts of fresh poultry are srtllest.
Storage stocks of 'rczen poultry at 26 markets
: 'Vieek eidir. as c.? 1.'OJ
Year : Storage : ft of t or: e-e mo-:;,ent : Storage
: stocks : Feb. 4 : Feb. 11 Feb. 18 Feb. 25 : stocks
: Jan. 28 : : : : : Feb. 25
: 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,COO 1,00 0 1,000
pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
1938 ....: 98,480
1939 ....: 100,216
The farm price of chickens en February 15 was fractionally higher than en
January 15 but the increase was less than the average seasonal amount. The price
on February 15, 1939 was 11 pe'reent below last year and 17 percent -elow the
10-year average for February 15. The effects of the larger supplies of poultry
on farms and in storage this spring-compared with last, willlbe partly -offset by
the higher level of consumer incomes and demand.
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Year : 15
per pound received by
Feb. : Mar. : Apr.
15 : 15 : 15
: July : Sept.: Nov.
: 15 : 15 : 15
Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
1925-34 16.8 17.2 17.5 18.2 18.3 17.8 17.3 16.2 15.8
1937 ...: 13.4 13.6 14.4 15.2 14.8 15.3 17.4 16.9 16.4
1938 ...: 16,7 16.0 15.9 16.2 16.1 15.9 14.3 13,6 13.6
1939 ...: 14.0 14.2
Index of nonagricultural income
(1924-29 = 100, adjusted for seasonal variation)
Year : Jan. : Feb. : Mar. : Apr. : June Aug. G Oct. Nov. Dec.
: 91.3 91.2 9fn.8 90.3 90.2 90.1 89.9 69.6 89.4
93.7 94.8 95.7 96.8 98.2 96.4 94.6 98.4
90.0 89.5 89.6 87.3 89.0 90.5 91.9 95.0
Laying flock size
The number of laying birds per farm fleck declined about 1 percent during
January 1939 compared with a gain of almost 1 percent during January last year.
Late hatchings of chickens were heavy in 1938 and ordinarily the addition of
pullets coming to laying age during January would have resulted in a small in-
crease in the average number of layers per farm flock (as was the case last year).
Low egg prices, however, may have been responsible for somewhat heavier market-
ings of hens and ycung chickens this January than last. As a result, the number
of layers remaining on February 1 was only about 5 percent greater than a year
ago, whereas on January 1 the number was almost 7 percent greater. However, the
number of layers is still about 6 percent short of the 1925-34 February I average.
Average number of laying hens per farm flock on the
first day of the month
Year Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. : May : Aug. No1v. a Dec.
: _, : ;
:Number Number Number Number Number Nlumber Number Number
1925-34 ....: 87.5 87.2 84.7 82.0 77.4 66.8 75.7 81.9
1937 ......: 84.2 82.5 80.0 77.5 73.1 62.1 69.3 74.4
1938 ......: 77.6 78.3 75.8 73.8 68.6 59.3 72.5 78.M
1939 ....... 82.8 1/B2.0
- 7 -
Farm production of eggs per hundred layers, failed to show the usual
seasonal gain during. January. This was owing to the inclement weather in
the latter part cf Jan.-ary and 'as in sharp contrast with production during
the early winter -tben all --st records for comparable dates were exceeded.
February 1 production per hulu --d layers was 1 percent below the record high
production a year earlier. It wps, however, higher than the February 1 aver-
age in any other year of record beginning with 1925. (It is of interest to
note in this connection that in every month except 4 since May 1937, egg
production per 10) layers exceeded all previous records for the corresoondi ng
Reported production -er farm flock on February 1, 1939 was 3 percent
above February 1 l-ist year and 23 percent above the 1925-34 February average.
Numbers of hens and pullets per farm flock on September 1 show much
less variation from year to y-eaar than do numbers on January 1. Since the
number on hand January 1, 1939 was 7 percent above the n'imber on hand on the
same date in 1938, the seasonal decline in numbers from January.' to September
may be greater in 1939 than in 1S38. With a greater seasonal decline expect-
ed and number of layers per flock now only 5 percent above last year, pro-
" duction per 100 layers would have to about equal last year's record production
to maintain production per flock above that of last year during the spring
and summer months.
Egrs laid per 100 hens and pullets of laying age in farm
flocks on the first day of the month
Year : Jan. : Feb. : Mor. : Apr. May : Aug. : Nov. : Dec.
: Number lumber Number Iumber N'mber Number Number Number
1925-34: 16.5 24.2 38.4 c2.8 55.1 36.9 17.0 13,9
1937 : 22.0 25.7 39.2 52.8 57.8 4o.4 21.1 18.6
193 : 22.7 32.2 42.2 57.9 58.1 41.2 22.3 19.9
1939 : 24,6 1/ 31.9
Receipts of eggs at New York in the first 3 weeks of February e7are 4 per-
cent below 1938 and 7 percent below.average. Receipts usually increase from
week to week at this season of the y,,ar. However, receipts drooped off sharply
at New York during the first week of Fubruary and hove not yet regained the
levels of the latter part of January. Receipts et the other three major markets
have increased slightly. Several factors may have contributed to the decline
at ilew York. Weather conditions were less favorable for production in the latter
- 8 -
part of January than in previous weeks, agg breaking operations were increased
daring January and probably have continued to increase,.the out-of-storage
movement for both shell vnd frozen eggs has decreased and there may have been
some shifting of eggs from primary to secondary markets.
Receipts of eggs at New York
___ _____ Year ending as ofl9 ___39 _
Year : Jan. : Jpn. : Feb. : F-b. : Feb.: Feb. : Mar. : Mar. : A-,r.
:____ 21 -28 ___ 4 : 11 1 .g 25 : 4 : 11 : 29
:1,000 1,000 1, 1,01,000 1,00 1,0 1, 000 1,CO0D 1,000 1,000
:cases cascs cas.s cases cP.se s cass cas c castes cases
1925-34 : 101.1 112.2 116.0 116.3 125.4 134.1 154.1 162.7 25.1
1938 : 131.7 129.2 123.9 106.6 106.2 131.8 13C.7 122.9 170.5
1939 : 127.7 12.9 104.1 114.7 112.5
Stocks of frozen eggs at 26 major storing centers on January 2S, 1939
were about 49 rjercent (or the equivalent of 517,000 cases of shell eggs) less
than on the seme date in 1938. Stocks of shell eggs gnn~-lly:r r-,rh a low
point during the latter part of February. Stocks "--re unusually low on January
28 this year and during the third T.:eek of February showd r'-mc increnso over the
usual nominal February into-storage movement.
Eggs Pre stored mainly during the period from Mnrch through June and
move out of storage chiefly during the period from Seopt..mb- thro'thrn January,
The difference in weightedd average prices bet- en these t-o periods is a
rough measure of the average gross rjrofit on the season's storage operations.
From the margin an allowance of from 3 to cents per dnzen must be made for
storage costs of all kinds. The results of the preceding storage season, from
the viewpoint of the operator, have a bearing on storage demand, and therefore
upon the level of egg prices in late winter and early spring, and also tend to
affect the quantity of eggs stored.
The averag- storage margin during 1938, as measured in this 'ray, r.'as
3.57 centz per dozen just about enough to allow the storage operator to
The March-June average orice is the average of the monthly prices of
storage packed firsts at New York weighted by the net into-storage movement
as indicated by the first-of-the-month Unitad States cold storage reports,
The September-Janu-ry price is similarly obtained using the p-ice of re-
frigerator firsts at New York reightad by the net out-of-storage movement.
- 10 -
Estimated storage marLin on shell eggs per dozen, average 191
1925-3a, annual 1935-38
utwrwotlI T iUf tLUNWA
3 1262 08903 921
: Seasonal weighted : Seasonal weighted :
Year average st. pkd. : average refrig. : Storage
: firsts at N. Y. : first at N. Y. : margin
____ ____ ar. June :Sept. Jan. ____
Cents Cents Cents
The farm price of eggs fell 11 percent from Jarnary 15 to February 15.
The average (1925-34) decline between these two dates -Ps 30 percent and last
year it w-s 32 percent. Prices on February 15 were 2 percent above last year
but 30 percent belor the 10-year average for February 15. Less favorable
weather conditions resulting in a less-than-seasonal increase in egg production
and the consequent smaller market receipts were largely responsible for the
less-than-seasonal decline in prices. The sharp drop in egg prices during
December and Jannuary -as equal to a considerable part of the usual seasonal
Price per dozen received by farmers for eggs
Year : Jan. : Feb. :
: 15 : 15 :
: Cents Cents
1925-34 : 31.0 24.o
15 : 15
: May : July : Sept.. : Nov.:
Se1 _:C 15 : 15_C 15 C
Cents Cents Cents Cents I
19.3 15.7 18.7 20.0
19.9 20.1 17.9
16.2 15.9 17.6