Seasonal And Annual Economic Cycles

Egg prices, and therefore egg profitability, follow consistent seasonal patterns. During the 1998 to 2002 period, Urner Barry Midwest egg prices for large eggs ranged from 6.6% above the annual average price for large eggs during October through March to 6.6% below the annual average price during April through September. This represents a plus or minus five cents per dozen range from the annual price. Individual months vary more than twice this amount. Interestingly, the higher prices were during the winter months when layer numbers are higher, whereas the lower prices were during the summer months when layer numbers are lower. This is the exact opposite of the annual relationship between high layer counts and low prices and low layer counts and high egg prices. This illustrates the marked differences in consumer demand between the two seasons.

Annual prices are also subject to cycles, but these are 4 5 years in length. Within a 5-year period, egg prices are usually high for 1 year, intermediate for 2 years, and low for 2 years. This reflects changes in layer populations and the time required to adjust the nation's flock size to correct overproduction.

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