USDA lowers egg production forecast amid bird flu outbreaks; higher egg prices to seep into 2025

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Jonathan Knowles
© GettyImages/Jonathan Knowles

Related tags bird flu eggs

The USDA has lowered its US egg production forecast due to recent discoveries of avian influenza in commercial laying flocks.

In its WASDE report​ released yesterday, the USDA predicts higher egg prices resulting from the anticipated reduced output, with this price increase expected to extend into the first half of 2025.

The agency forecasts robust US broiler production though, based on higher bird weights and recent hatchery data.

Impact on commercial flocks

In April 2024, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in commercial egg layer flocks in Michigan and Texas. Additionally, at the end of May, authorities detected HPAI in a flock of commercial layer birds in Sioux County, Iowa.

Earlier in April, leading US egg producer, Cal-Maine Foods, reported a bird flu outbreak at its facility in Parmer County, Texas. This led to the depopulation of around 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets, representing 3.6% of its total flock.

And, last month, Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, a Michigan-based company, announced layoffs of 400 workers at several of its farms due to a bird flu outbreak. In response, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) initiated an emergency risk reduction and response order in May to ensure poultry and dairy operations in the state adopt enhanced biosecurity measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Australian supermarket limits egg purchases

Australia is also facing a bird flu outbreak. The country's supermarket chain, Coles Group, has restricted egg purchases due to fears of shortages.

The highly pathogenic H7N3 strain has been detected on four farms in western Victoria, and another highly pathogenic strain, H7N9, has been found at a fifth farm. Over 500,000 chickens have been culled to prevent the virus from spreading.

Related topics Markets Poultry North America Safety

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