The price of eggs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Obser, May 15, 2006.

  1. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    What accounts for the fact that the price of a dozen eggs is so low? We are currently buying large eggs for 70 cents a dozen or so in Arkansas supermarkets.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the price of eggs for the years 1960 through 1999 (the latest available on my reference) and compared it to the price of a gallon of milk and a gallon of gasoline for the same years. Prices are not adjusted for inflation.

    1960 eggs 0.57 milk 0.49 gasoline 0.31
    1970 eggs 0.62 milk 1.15 gasoline 0.36
    1980 eggs 0.91 milk 2.16 gasoline 1.25
    1990 eggs 1.00 milk 2.78 gasoline 1.16
    1999 eggs 1.08 milk 3.32 gasoline 1.17

    Thus, eggs cost about 2 times as much forty years later, gasoline was over 3.5 times as much, while the price of milk was nearly 7 times as much as it was forty years earlier.

    Starting with the 1960 price and adjusting for inflation, in 1999 the eggs should cost $3.25 per dozen – and a gallon of milk should cost $2.80 – and gasoline should cost $1.77.

    What do you think accounts for the low price of eggs relative to milk and gasoline?


    My sources were
    http://www.1960sflashback.com/1960/Economy.asp (an interesting site)
    http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi (sometimes depressing)
     
  2. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    Egg production has become very very efficient, but the quality has gone downhill. The hens just sit and eat, drink, lay eggs, poop. They have computer controlled feeders, waterers, conveyer belts to take the eggs away scan the eggs for grade, size, wash and package.
     

  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

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    At this time there is an over supply of eggs and poultry products. According to the farm market reports the price should drop even more.
     
  4. Well I think the store boughten eggs are just worthless and maybe that's why we don't pay very much for them. However, the price of farm eggs aruond here are still only a $1.00 per dozen and it's been that way for almost the last 20 years. I know feed has gone up quit considerably so I don't know why the farmers aren't charging more. But it might be because a lot of people think farm raised eggs have too much flavor and turn their nose up to it. The last time I raised chickens (about 5 years ago) I was selling them for a $1.00 per dozen and I only had about 2 dependable customers but they would only buy what they could eat in the next few days. There was times I would have to feed some of the eggs to the dogs.
     
  5. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe supply and demand?
     
  6. Arklady

    Arklady Well-Known Member

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    I know that compaired to like 5 years ago there are a whole lot of ppl raising chickens than there used to be. Every day I hear someone say I just bought chicks what do I do! The are panicked and don't know what to do. I would say we get at least 5 to 8 ppl a week that are new to chickens. Many of them live in towns or suburbia. They just want them for eggs. One lady said they lived in a city and they were hiding them in the basement! So lots of folks are buying chickens and I guess they are finally making an impact on national suppliers. I have all the fresh eggs I want and sell the hatching ones or feed them to my dogs which is a good trade cause 10 eggs is equivilant to what he would have eaten in dog food. Which is way higher than chicken feed. Even tho they both have the same ammount of corn...

    Arklady/ who probably has more chickens than she needs! :)
     
  7. Belly Acre

    Belly Acre Well-Known Member

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    About 20 years ago it was explained to me as.....the people who control the price of eggs are in control of grain prices. I understood it as the people who control the grain to feed the chickens to lay the eggs are making their profits on the grain and keeping the price of eggs low. A BIG industry that us little farmers can't keep up with. I raised the price of my eggs to $1.25 and still don't think I clear a profit considering the space, labor, and electricity (for the light) that they take but the price does cover the price of the grain. If my eggs don't sell quickly I take the ones that haven't sold and crack them in quantities that my family eats in a meal, blend them up for scrambled eggs, put them into a zip-lock bag and freeze them for later use. We use them all up especially during the winter when the hens aren't laying as well. I sell the fresh eggs and we eat the frozen ones.
     
  8. Pink_Carnation

    Pink_Carnation Well-Known Member

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    Well here some of the "farm fresh" eggs are $3.75 a dozen.....That is if you buy them off a farm that sells produce and other items. If you buy them from someone who is selling their extras then it is $1/doz
     
  9. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    farm eggs around here are about 1 dollor a dz. allso we give a few dz. away every week a dollor isnt going to make or break you
     
  10. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    I would guess that people eat less eggs per person, since they are 'bad' for you.

    Also, they are easily produced, and mass produced.

    Which is easier (for you) to do, make a gallon of milk, a gallon of gas, or a dozen eggs ?

    I probably feed 8 dozen surplus eggs per week to my hogs .... :-(
     
  11. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    I was surprised to find store eggs here for 50 cents/doz on sale

    I bought 3 doz to freeze, when needed
     
  12. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Overproduction. Overproduction. Overproduction.

    This has been the story of American agriculture for at least the last two hundred years.

    Eggs (and chicken meat) are cheap because it is simple and cheap to produce so that we now see egg factories with a hundred thousand birds or more per house and if you don't have at least a million birds total chances are you're not going to be in the business for much longer.

    No different than any other sort of commodity agriculture. Get big or get out.

    And if prices rise enough that you can actually make a decent living doing less than dawn to dusk labor the government starts allowing foreign imports.

    From reading various boards and mailing lists these last six or seven years it seems the only folks who are making a half-way decent living in agriculture do not do commodities. It's value added all the way. Problem is that it's a fairly small market and to make it pay off you have to really get out and hustle for it because it ain't going to come to you. Not in the beginning at least.

    Joel Salatin, Robert Plamondon, and a few others are showing the way, but it's still going to be a long tough slog. Government regulation is perhaps the biggest one of all.

    I'll feed the eggs back to the birds before I sell them for a dollar a dozen. It's not worth my time and won't even really cover the cost of the feed. A very good reason not to keep so many birds that you are going to get hurt that way before your market develops.

    .....Alan.
     
  13. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Tsdave, I understand your logic about what is required to produce eggs vs. milk vs. gasoline. However, were the requirements for producing each somehow different in 1960 in relation to one another than they are now?

    Egg production is, no doubt, more mechanized and "efficient" now than it was forty years ago. But, isn't the same true for milk production? (In 1960 farmers could still sell milk in the old five-gallon cans at roadside. Is that still done anywhere in the country?)

    Yet eggs actually cost less now than in 1960 (considering inflation), while milk costs more than it did then (considering inflation) with a much greater increase in price compared to eggs.

    Is it largely a matter of advertising effectiveness (and the "bad name" for eggs with concern about cholesterol)? Are price controls (milk marketing boards) a major factor? Is feed cost related (greater increase for cattle feed than poultry feed)? Are substitutes being made more for eggs than for milk?

    Something has changed dramatically in the price structure of the two since 1960, and especially since 1980.
     
  14. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Nowadays, you get more eggs out of a chicken than you did 40 years ago and you get more milk out of a cow than you did too! Genetics, proper feeding, etc.

    I used to sell eggs about 5 years ago for $1.00 / dozen. If I would have pushed it, I would have had more buyers than eggs. But I don't think I was making a profit. Between the feed, the time it took, and I delivered the eggs to the customers it turned from a pleasure to work. At that time I had about 150 chickens.

    Today I have about 30 chickens - many of them are 2 years old or older. I don't buy feed for them anymore. They scavenge what they can from the yard and clean up what the goats don't eat. We use the eggs for ourselves and some family members. If I would ramp up production, I would charge at least $1.25 / dozen if not more.

    I'm happy to report to you that I can buy milk for 1970's prices!!!!!!!! If my goats don't produce enough for me, I can go to the local cow dairy that is 1 mile from my house, draw a gallon out of the bulk tank, and pay $1.50! Fresh, cold, RAW milk for $1.50!!!!!!!!
     
  15. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

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    Just read a Ms. farm report. Ms. commercial laying hens produce about 1.5 billion eggs annually. That is a lot of eggs.
    Boiler production is up 4.5% nationally compared to last year.
    Wholesale breast prices were 25% lower in 2005 than 2004. The decline has continued in 2006.
    European and Asian consumers has reduced their imports of U.S. poultry because of avian influenza.
    Boiler production is expanding at a 3.2% increase in 2006.
    These all combine for lower prices.
    The same happened to pork many years ago. Small farmers could not compete against the large producers.
    Next will be beef, expect it to happen in the next 5-8 years.
     
  16. Micheal Smith, you are so lucky! A few months ago I went to about 3 different local dairy barns asking to buy raw milk from them and everyone of them turned me down. Stating that if they was to get caught selling or giving to the public they could face shutdown by the health department. I've been keeping my eye out looking for someone who is milking their own cow and am not having any luck. I've been seriously thinking about buying my own milk cow even if it means no more summer vacation trips.
     
  17. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    We get $1.75 a dozen. We only sell about 5 to 7 dozen a week. That is enough to pay for their food and bedding, plus we get all the eggs we can eat, farm fresh and yummy! So factor in saving about $6.00 in eggs each week...I just bought 27 replacers, little Barred Rocks...the kids are sick of taking care of chickens, but I like them.
    The part we hate is washing the eggs before selling them or eating them.
     
  18. MoonShine

    MoonShine Fire On The Mountain

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    Eggs were on sale here a few weeks ago...25 cents per dozen!
     
  19. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    Please indulge me. Store eggs are not the same product as farm eggs. There is a small segment of the population that is willing to pay you a reasonable price for them. We have really high costs so we're able to get $4/dozen easily. We're sold out through July. Others near us get $2 some get $6. Our cost is at least $2.50/dozen. We feed them seeds, custom milled food and allow them pasture. If you are going to coddle your hens you desirve a decent price.
     
  20. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

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    the cheapest i have seen eggs around here is $.59/doz. we sell our for $1 now. because i can't stop buying chicksor hatching them and the wife and teacher wife eat breakfast at school so there is no real need for a lot of eggs around here. in fact, i just fed a couple dozen oldies to the pigs today.