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CME: Growth of Broiler Stocks but Inventories Still Low

25 January 2012, at 2:36pm

US - USDA's monthly <em>Chickens and Eggs</em> report, released on Monday, indicated some growth of the broiler layer flock but still shows one of the lowest inventories on record, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

The report says that there were 50.885 million hens producing broiler-type hatching eggs as of 1 January. That number is up 0.5 per cent from last month but is 7.3 per cent lower than one year earlier.

More important, it is just barely higher than the 1 November inventory of 50.103 million hens which marked the smallest broiler-type breeder flock in almost 14 years.

Further, the decline of the breeder flock in this most recent downsizing is nearly as large as the one in 2008. The breeder flock fell by 5.367 million hens from May to December 2008.

It fell by 5.206 million from May to November 2011 before growing modestly the past two months. The 1 November flock was 14.3 per cent smaller than the all-time largest flock back in May 2002 and 14.0 per cent smaller than the most recent peak in February 2008.

This hatching flock is, like virtually everything in agriculture, more productive than it once was and is still seeing productivity grow sharply. December hatching egg output of 61.9 eggs per 100 hens per day was 3.6 per cent higher than both one year ago and February 2008 when the flock last peaked.