S'.S "ITUATI ON
S: BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
U UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
S PES-44 -AUGUST 1940
U. S. COLD-STORAGE STOCKS OF EGGS ON AUGUST 1. 1916-40
:.l ..A 8A2
.. 1916 18
U 9. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICU
Eggs in sh ll
'20 22 24 26 '28
'FIMA TED FROM iTORACE HOLDINGS OF .l'L I
AM 5 DATA
EeF G 20FJd BuR[auO. aGuicutTurnsL E s
STORAGE STOCKS OF EGGS. MONTHLY
AVERAGES.1935-36 TO 1939-40
I Frozen eggs
Eggs in shell
MAY I1 JULY t | SEPT. 1 NOV.1 JAN. I
APR. I JUNE I1 AUG. I OCT 1 DEC. I FEB. I
ILTURE NEG 38500 BUREAU OFAGRICdUTURAL ECOhOMICS
THE POULTRY AND EGG SITUATION AT A GLANCE
EGGS | I I PERCENT I I I
DOZENS) CHICAGO FEED- [NONAGRICULTURAL INCO
8 -I- EGG RATIO I (1924.29.100, I
I MILLIONS )
I MILLIONS I
STORAGE STOCKS OF
- POULTRY AT 26
0 I I I i f I I I
JAN APR JULY OCT.
A.M.S DATA. EXCEPT NOIIAC' ICIULTURAL INCOME
U.5 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
JAN. APR. JULY OCT.
INDEXX NUMBER ADJUSTED FOR SEASONAL VARIATION
NEG 38499 V BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
Beginning with the September number THE PO'ULTRY AND :
: EGG SITUATIO' will be issued on or about the 20th of each :
a month. This change to a later date cf issue is being made :
: in order to include production data for the preceding month.:
THE POULTRY AN7D EG G S ITUATI ON
Slightly smaller supplies of eges in the United States are indicated for
the last half of 1941' as compared with the last half of 1939. Supplies of
chicken meat (including foowrl) may be about 5 percent smaller. These smaller
supplies will be largely the result of the smaller hatch this year than last.
The larger than usual into-storage movement during June and July for
both shell and frozen eggs, made possible by unusually hea y- egg production in
those months, has more than made up for the delayed into-storage movement at
the beginning of the season. V'hile total stocks of eggs, including Government
holdings, in the United States or August 1 probably ,.ere about 8 percent larger
than on the same date in 19Z9, private holdings probably were slightly smaller.
VWith:smaller production and licraer consumer incomes than a year earlier
indicated fcr the remainder of 1C'40, eg[: prices nay tend to rise during coming
months relative to last year's prices.
Receipts of poultry are continuing heavier than a year earlier, but are
tending to decline relative to last year's levels. This tendency is likely to
continue during the remainder of this year as a result of the smaller production
of chickens and a somewhat smaller production of turkeys in 1940 as compared
with 1939. The smaller marketing during the remainder of 1940 probably will
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PES-44 4 -
tend to offset come of the depressing effects of the present larger total stor-
age stocks of poultry. Smaller supplies of chickens, higher consumers' in-
comes, and the apparent generally favorable chicken storage deal of the past
season will tend to bring about higher chicken prices in the last half of this
year compared with the last 6 months of 1939. however, the effects on turkey
prices of the higher level of consumer incomes and probable smaller turkey pro-
duction this year compared with last will tend to be offset by the present
abnormally large storage stocks of dressed turkeys and by the effects of last
season's unfavorable turkey storage deal.
August 2, 1940
The cost of poultry feed, based on Chicago prices, has decreased somewhat
in recent weeks but continues considerably higher than a year earlier. Thus,
with egg prices only slightly higher than a year earlier, the feed-egg ratio is
continuing well above the level of the corresponding period in 1939.
The seasonal increase in the price of eggs will tend to bring about some
reduction in the number of eggs required to buy 100 pounds of poultry feed and
by September may reduce the number below that of a year earlier, when sharp in-
creases in grain prices occurred following the declaration of war in Europe. It
is likely, however, that the feed-egg ratio will remain less favorable to
poultry producers than the 10-year average during the remainder of 1940.
Feed-egg ratio at Chicago
(Dozens of eggs required to buy 100 pounds of poultry ration)
: _Veek ending as of 1940
Year : Jan.: Apr.: June : July : August :Sept.
: 27 : 27 : 22 : 29 : 6 : 13 : 20 : 27 : 3 : 10 : 17 : 9
Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Doz. Dos.
1929-38: 5.55 6.68 6.66 6.7" 6.84 6.92 6.75 6.62 6.46 6.56 6.36 5.79
1938 : 6.39 5.85 5.56 5.50 5.33 5.31 5.40 5.12 4.98 4.78 4.87 4.04
1939 : 6.65 6.65 6.78 6.71 6.61 6.37 6.05 5.76 5.85 6.05 6.15 7,08
1940 : 5.38 8.21 7.74 7.57 7.34 7.45 7.57 7.61
Receipts of dressed poultry at four markets
(flew York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston)
SWeek ending as of 1940
Year June : July : Aug. : Sept.
: 22 : 29 : 6 : 13 : 20 : 27 : 3 : 10 : 28
: 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
: pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
1929-38: 5,117 5,310 4,643 4,795 4,769 4,625 4,795 4,934 6,517
1938 : 5,240 5,349 4,678 5,304 4,506 5,405 5,656 5,989 6,981
1939 : 6,515 6,139 5,357 6,300 5,942 6,948 5,672 5,690 7,530
1940 : 6,584 6,653 6,044 6,406 5,724 6,079
The increase during June in storage holdings of all poultry in the
United States was the largest on record for that month. This increase was
mostly in holdings of fowl, since holdings of broilers, ducks, and miscellaneous
poultry increased only slightly and holdings of all other classes declined.
Data for the 26 markets, shown graphically in figure 1, indicate a net decline
in storage holdings for the month of July.
The expected smaller stocks of poultry in storage at the end of this
year will be composed of a smaller proportion of stock fror this year's produc-
tion and a larger proportion of fowl, since this yepr's production of chickens
and turkeys was smaller than last but marketing of fovl probably vrill continue
at least as heavy as a year earlier for the next few months.
Storage stocks of frozen poultry at 26 markets
Week ending as of 1940
: Storage :
Year : stocks : Cut-of-storage mc
: June 29 : 6 : 13 :
: 1, 1,000 1,000
: pounds pounds pounds
1929-36 : 35,279,
The farm price of chickens usually reaches a peak in April or ]ay and
then declines until the end of the year (see figure 1). During the last half
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of this year, however, chicken prices may tend to rise relative to prices in
the last half of 1939. Three factors will tend to bring about higher prices.
First, rarketings in the last half of 1940 probably will be smaller than those
of a year earlier; Lecond, consumer incomes will be as high or higher than in
the last half of 1939, bringing about a strong demand for poultry for immediate
consumption; and, third, last season's storage deal on most classes of chickens
was relatively favorable, so that storage demand may be relatively strong.
The higher level of consumer incomes this year and the probable somewhat
smaller 1940 turkey production compared with 1939, will be of strengthening
influence to turkey prices this coming fall. These strengthening influences,
however, v.ill be at least partly offset by the effects of the large stocks of
turkeys still in storage and by the weaker storage demand resulting from losses
to storage operators during the past season.
Price per pound received by farmers for chickens
: Jan.: Feb.: Mar.: Apr.: ikay : June: July: Aug.:Sept.: Oct.: Nov.: Dec.
: 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15 : 15
:Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents C3nts Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
1929-38: 14.8 15.0 15.3 15.9 15.7 15.5 15.1 14.9 15.2 14.6 14.1 13.6
1938 : 16.7 16.0 15.9 16.2 16.1 15.7 15.0 14.2 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.' 12.8 12.9 13.6 13.3 13.6
Number of layers on farms
The number of layers on farms usually declines about 25 percent from
January to August of each year and then increases rapidly in the lest 4 months
as pullets are added to the laying flocks. The decline in numbers during the
first half of this year was of about the usual extent, but the increase after
August may be less than usual because of the smaller hatch this year as com-
pared with 1939. On the basis of the change from a year earlier in the number
of young chickens now in farm flocks, it appears likely that the number of lay-
ers on farms in January 1941 will be from 3 to 8 percent smaller than the
number in January of this year.
Because of the tendency of producers to cull less severely during years
of comparatively small hatches, it is likely that next ycar's laying flocks will
contain a smaller proportion of pullet layers than they did this year,
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lumber of layers on farms, United States
Year Jan.: Feb. l]ar.: Apr.: May : June: July: Aug.:Seot.: Oct.: I:ov. Dec.
: il. 1il l. i1. Mil. 1Mil i. l. il. Mil. 1 M il il il Ml.
1929-39: 335 328 318 304 287 270 256 250 259 280 303 325
1938 : 307 301 29? 278 262 248 236 234 245 269 293 314
1939 : 322 513 3C6 292 276 260 246 242 253 279 305 326
1940 : 332 327 318 304 289 269
Egg production during June was larger than a year earlier for the fourth
consecutive month (see one of the charts in figure 1) and was the largest pro-
duction for June since 1930. Production during the first half of this year was
about 1 percent larger than that for the first half of 1939, but production
during the last half of this year may be from 1 to 2 percent less than in the
last half of 1939. This seems likely in view of the probable smaller number of
layers on farms this fall than last and a smaller than usual proportion of
pullet layers in farm flocks. The smaller proportion of pullets will tend to
cause a lower average rate of production this fall compared to the last several
months of 1939.
The average rate of lay for June, probably stimulated by the generally
cool weather, -as the highest of record for the month, except for June 1938.
Thus, the larger than usual June production was the result of a higher rate of
lay as well as of a larger number of layers on fprms as compared with the past
Total farm production of. eggs, United States
Year Jan.: Feb.: lar.: Apr.: May June: July Aug. Sept., Oct.; Nov.: Dec.
: il. iil. Hil. ilil. Mil. Mil. '1il. Mil. Mil. Mil. Mil. Mil.
:cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases cases
1929-38: 5.9 7.9 12.5 14.1 13.3 10.6 9.0 7.7 6.4 5.2 4.0 4.4
1938 : 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
1940 : 6.7 8.2 12.7 14.0 13.7 11.1
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Average number of eggs produced ner layer, United States
Year Jan. Feb.: Mar.: Apr.: May June :July Aug.'Sept
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. ITo.
1929-38 6.3 g.6 24.2 16.6 16.7 14.2 12.7 11.1 8.9
1939 : 8.0
1940 : 7.2
Oct. HNov., Dec.
No. No t No.
6.7 4.8 5.0
7.5 5.9 6.4
7.4 6.0 6.s
Egg storage and Governnent purchases
The increased rate of into-storage movement for both shell and frozen eggs
during recent weeks has more than made up f.r the delayed into-storage movement
at the beginning of the storage season. Total holdings of shell and frozen eggs
(including Government holdings) were about 7 percent larger on July 1 than on the
same date a year earlier, and indications are that the holdings on August 1 were
at least as large a percentage in excess of stocks of a year e-rlier. One of the
charts on the cover page indicates how August 1 stocks of shell and frozen eggs
have varied since 1916.
On July 1 the Surplus Marketing Administration o-rned 933,000 cases, or
about 12 percent, of the 7,509,000 caces of shell eg.:s in storage in the United
States. The eggs held by this agency, however, will be distributed largely in
school lunch programs, etc. and therefore will not compete in the market with
privately owned supplies. The Surplus Marketing Administration (which now in-
cludes the Federal Surplus Connodities Corporation) has helped to support egg
prices this season by purchasing a total of 2,218,186 cases since the beginning
of this season's buying program in Decenber 1939.
Storage stocks of eggs at twenty-six markets
Week ending as of 1940
lato-storage novenent July
6 : 13 : 20 : 27
1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
cases cases cases cases
: July 27
69 5 470
I? 1939 : 2,d45 52
.. 1940 : 2.29 93
1 i/ Out-of-storage.
PE s-44 10 -
Wholesale egg prices advance- during early July, and the average price
received by farmers for eg,: in nid-July .:as 16.4 cents compared with 14.4 cents
a month earlier and 16.5 cents in July 1939. -Since privately owned supplies of
eggs in the last half of this year. may be smaller than a year earlier and con-
suners' incomes are expected to average higher in the remainder of 1940 than in
the last half of 1939, it is likely that egg prices will tend to rise relative
to those :f 1939 and the first half of 19'40 during coming months.
Price per dozen received by farmers'for eggs
Year Jan.. Feb.. Mar.. Apr., May : June: July. Aug..Sept.. Oct.: Nov.: Dec.
:Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
1929-38 : 24.2 20.3 17.3 16.8 16.8 16.g 18.1 19.9 23.2 26.2 30.1 28.8
1938 :21.6 16.4 16.2 15.9 17.6 18.2 19.9 21.0 24.9 27.1 29.0 27.9
1939 : 18.8 16.7 16.o0 15.5 15.2 14.9 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
The improvement in business conditions which began in April continued into
July. Industrial employment and pay-rolls have risen alone with the expansion of
industrial output. Domestic consumer demand for most farm-produced food products
has been strengthened by this recent stimulation of domestic business and is ex-
pected to be better during the last half of 1940 than during either the last half
of 1939 or the first half of 1940.
There are indications, however, that the recent rate of improvement in
demand conditions is slowing down. Whether this slower rate of rise will be fol-
lowed by further gains or by a tcnporary relapse is dependent in considerable
degree upon continuation of the war by Great Britain, our nost important overseas
Index numbers of nonagricultural income
(1924-29 = 100, adjusted for seasonal variation)
Year : Jan.: Feb., Mar.: Apr.: May : June: July; Aug.:Sept., Oct., Nov. Dec.
1929-38: 85.2 85.1 85.4 85.0 s'4.3 85.4 h4.7 84,7 s4,4 s145 s4,2 g4,l1
1938 : 88.9 88.1 87.9 87.0 s6.1 86.1 86.2 88.0 8.3 89.0 89.8 90.3
1939 : 90.6 90.6 91.1 90.1 90.5 91.7 91.8 93.1 93.4 95.4 96.1 96.6
1940 : 96.4 95.4 95.o0 94.2 95.3 96.7
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Chick Hatchery Survey, 1937-38
The Poultry Division of the Surplus Marketing Administration (which
now includes the former Division of Marketing and Marketing Agreements)
recently completed a survey of commercial chick hatchery operations during
the year 1937.-38. Returns were secured from 5,786, or 55 percent, of the
10,533 hatcheries doing business in that year. An earlier survey I/ cover-
ed operations during the year 1934. A comparison of the results obtained
from the two surveys and detailed information obtained from the latter one
are given in the bulletin entitled "Chick Hatchery Survey, 1937-38" by
W. D. Termohlen, 0. C. Warren, and G. G. Lemson. Copies are available from
the Poultry Division Surplus Marketing Administration, United States
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
Each of the hatcheries reporting in the later survey was asked to
state the year in which it first operated. The results are shown in figure 2.
From 1880 to 1920 a gradual growth took place, but from 1920 to date the
growth has been very rapid. However, the increase in number of hatcheries
during 1937-38 was the smallest since 1923, and it is believed that the rate
of increase in hatcheries has slowed down considerably.
During 1937-38, hatcheries operated in every State and in two-thirds
of the 3,070 counties in the United States. The total number of hatcheries
operating in 1937-38 was slightly smaller than in 1934. However, total egg
capacity increased 44 percent and chicks hatched increased 72 percent.
Decreases in both number of hatcheries and capacity were reported for firms
having a capacity of less than 10,000 eggs. All other size-groups showed in-
creases, the largest increase being for hatcheries having an egg capacity of
500,000 and over.
The huge increase in the number of chicks hatched, according to the
bulletins representss in part a chift from farm hatched to commercially
hatched chicks and does not represent a corresponding expansion in the number
of chickens raised. Between 1934 and 1938 there was an increase of only 7
percent in the number of chickens raised or farm-;. Instead, the increase in
hatchery chairh procuition has occurred because the poultry industry has become
more highly specialized. A much greater proportion of the total number of
chickens rai ,ed is now being produced from chicks hatched by commercial
hatcheries th:n was formerly the case. In 1934 the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics estimated that about 46.6 percent of the chicks produced that year
was either bought from commercial hatcheries or custom hatched by them. While
no definite estimates were made for 1938, indications show that probably more
than 60 percent of the chicks produced was either bought from or custom
hatched by commercial hatcheries. This increase in the proportions bought
will in itself account for a major proportion of the increased production
The bulletin gives as another reason for increased chick production
the rapid growth of broiler production on a commercial scale during the last
few years. "Estimates of the volume of this production range between 60 and
SO million broilers a year, which, with an assumed mortality of 20 percent,
would require between 75 and 100 million chicks annually. While perhaps 60
1/ Poultry Section, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, "An Economic
Survey of the Baby Chick Hatchery Industry", 1935.
DEVELOPMENT OF HATCHERY INDUSTRY
NUMBER OF HATCHERIES REPORTED AS OPERATING IN EACH YEAR
HATCHERIES ... -------------
0 I 1 I ... .. .L.
1880. '85 '90 '95 1900 '05 '10 '15 *20 '25 '30 -35 "40
"--- -""-- "-s-- ---- -- -- --- -- ----- -e ---- --- ;--- --- ---, .
1 2 5 13 26 62 144 333 720 1.757 3.416 4.695I
NUMBER OF HATCHERIES 5.7&6
U. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NEG. 38498 aUREAUCF AGRICULTURAL ECOhOMICS
FIGURE 2.- THE EARLIEST COMMERCIAL HATCHERY BEGAN OPERATING IN 1880, AND FROM THEN
UNTIL ABOUT t920 THE INDUSTRY'EXPERIENCED ONLY A GRADUAL GROWTH. FROM THAT TIME ON, "
A RAPID EXPANSION HAS TAKEN PLACE. THE GROWTH CURVE SHOWN ABOVE IS BASED ON REPORTS
FBOM 5,786, qOR 55 PERCENT, OF 10,533 HATCHERIES DOING BUSINESS IN 1957-38.
PERCENTAGE OF HATCHERIES OPERATING EACH MONTH, 1937-38*
AUG. SEPT. OCT. NOV. DEC. JAN. FEB. MAR. APR. MAY JUNE JULY
78 102 11.1 11.2 15.9 432 76.5 969 97.9 68 2 55.2 19.2
*BASED ON RETURNS FROM S.907 HATCHERIES
U S DEPARTMENT or AGRICULTURE 14. 31497 EBUIEAU Or A ICULrIURAL ECONOMICS
FIGURE 3.- MORE THAN THREE-FOURTHS OF THE HATCHERIES OPERATED DURING THE PERIOD
FEBRUARY THROUGH MAY. APPROXIMATELY 10 PERCENT OF. ALL HATCHERIES, PRINCIPALLY AMONG
THE LARGER SIZE-GROUPS, OPERATED DURING THE "OFF-SEASON" FROM AUGUST THROUGH DECEMBER.
THIS COMPARATIVELY NEW DEVELOPMENT HAS BEER BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE I CREASED DEMAND FOR
BROILER CHICKS DURING THAT SEASON OF THE YEAR.
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percent of all farm chicks come from commercial hatcheries, practically
100 percent of broiler chicks are obtained from this source."
Increases in the number of chicks hatched commercially since 1934 have
occurred in every State but the increases have been largest in the New England
and southeastern regions. While in the past the Southeast has been dependent
to quite an extent on chicks hatched in other sections of the country, this
dependency appears to be rapidly declining. The increase in the New England
States is largely due to the growth of the broiler industry in this area and
an increase in shipments of chicks to other broiler-producing areas as well
as shipments of large quantities of breeding stock from the many breeders
in these States.
The West North Central region is now the leading producer of chicks,
having displaced the East North Central States since 1934. Iowa, with an
increase of nearly 100 percent since 1934, now leads all other States in
hatchery chick production. Ohio, which ranked first in 1934, now ranks fourth
Figure 3 shows the percentage of hatcheries operating in each month
of the year beginning August 1937. Nearly all of the hatcheries were operating
in March and April and over three-fourths of them operated during the 4-month
period, February through May. Hatcheries located in the eastern and far
western regions tend to operate over more months than do hatcheries in other
regions. Also as the size of the hatchery increases, the period of operation
tends to be longer.
From 1934 to 1937-3S the average percentage hatch has increased from
63.9 to 68.2 percent. In other words, hatcherymen obtained 4.3 more chicks
from every 100 eggs set than they did in 1934. This represents a saving of
over 4 million dollars in hatcher- costs.
Sex separating of day-old chicks is now practiced by one-fourth of the
hatcheries. This practice wau first adopted commercially in 1933. "The great
majority of the larger hatcherie sell sex-separated chicks, while this is
true of only a few of the smaller hatcheries. Since skilled persons are
required to do the work of sex-separating, it can be expected for a time at
least that this practice will be found more generally in the hatcheries with
the larger volume of production." Approximately 7 percent of the hatcheries
destroy cockerel chicks during at least a part of the year. This practice is
most common on the Pacific Coast.
Some hatcheries are forced to sell started chicks (those that have
been given feed and water) because they do not have sufficient orders for all
the chicks as they are hatched. However, other hatcheries are supplying
started chicks because some poultrymen prefer to buy their chicks after the
most difficult period of raising them is over. More than half of the
hatcheries in the United States sell started chicks. This practice is most
common in the less commercialized poultry aroas.
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INDEX OF SPECIAL SUBJECTS DISCUSSED IN THE
POULTRY AND EGG SITUATION
Chick Hatchery Survey, 1937-38 ...................
Forecast of number of layers on farms in
January 1941 ..............................
A comparison of four feed-egg ratios .............
Changes in method of reporting egg production and
number of layers ..........................
Estimated storage margin on shell eggs per dozen,
average 1916-35 and 1925-34, annual 1935-39
Change in official index of seasonal variation
of farm egg prices ........................
Feed-egg ratio defined ...........................
Effects of the World War and possible effects of
the present war ...........................
Long-time factors in the chicken and egg outlook .
Long-time factors in the turkey outlook ..........
Production of poultry feed grains and November
feed-egg ratio ............................
July 1, 1940
May 1, 1940
April 2, 1940
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08904 0439