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Egg Prices Lowest In A Decade

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Eggs are cheap right now. In a grocery store, a dozen is selling for 77 cents.
Retail prices haven't been this low in more than a decade, in 2006, according to Maro Ibarburu with the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University. He provides statistical and economic information to egg producers.
While that's nice for consumers, it's not so great for the farmer. Producer prices have been lower than the cost of production for more than a year.
Ibarburu says, "This is way below the cost of production. Even this month we are seeing prices that don't cover the variable cost of production for many of the flocks."
One of the biggest reasons for low prices is an industry still recovering from the 2015 avian influenza outbreak.
The first quarter of 2017 has seen retail and producer egg prices 40 cents per dozen lower than the five year average before bird flu. In that same timeframe, egg inventories are 37 percent higher, exports have been lower, and imports have been higher. On the positive side, people have been eating about eight percent more eggs.
Recovery from bird flu has ramped up in the last year. Iowa's egg production has increased by 300 million eggs after regaining about 7 million layers according to the USDA Chicken and Eggs report.
But that increase in production may not be for long.
Ibarburu says, "When the price is so low, naturally the price is going to adjust itself. Unless you find good markets outside or inside."
If those markets aren't found, Ibarburu says producers will have to start cutting back their flocks.


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