Saturday Afternoon News, May 23
Egg Prices Rise To Record Levels
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa egg production for April fell 8 percent from the month before and 4 percent from a year ago as the bird flu claimed millions of egg-laying hens.
The first case was found in Iowa chickens around April 20th so the decline reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly report reflects only some infected farms. The June 22nd report will show a more complete picture. The virus has spread to 63 farms killing more than 21 million egg-layers.
The average number of layers on hand was 56.1 million in April, 5 percent lower than the year before.
Egg prices surged to a record on Friday, a month after bird flu was first detected in the chicken flock in Iowa, the nation's leading egg producer.
Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen.
Rick Brown, a senior vice president for Urner Barry, a commodity market analyst says that's a 95 percent increase in the month since bird flu first hit Iowa chickens. He says the previous record was $2.27 set on December 4th.
Eggs used to make ice cream, mayonnaise and other processed foods set a record Friday of $2.13 a dozen, up 238 percent from the selling price of April 22nd around the date Iowa's first chicken farm tested positive. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is predicting food companies will soon face an egg supply problem.