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Egg market begins to slip as it looks past Easter

The UK egg market is entering a more challenging time as it
looks beyond Easter and moves towards the summer.

Having successfully navigated the post-Christmas period
and early Spring, sustained pressure from supplies and quieter
demand will pose a pervasive threat to prices.

The retail trade is looking for one more good week before the
holidays begin, and then the market moves into more uncertain
territory.

Meanwhile, the wholesale market has largely met its Easter
requirement and has already dipped a little lower on both colony
and free range.

Colony eggs have typically slipped by 3-4p/doz across the top
three sizes, with free range down by up to 5p/doz on Large.

According to the Central Egg Agency, all sectors have become a
bit quieter, whether wholesale, retail or processing. “It’s all eased
back a notch.”

On free range, more mediums and smalls were starting to come
through with the arrival of additional new flocks, said CEA’s Andy
Crossland.

“With Brexit and lots of competition at retail level, it’s going to
be an awkward summer, I think.”

On the Continent, Polish and Spanish exports are having the
biggest influence on prices in the rest of Europe as well as the UK.
Spain is likely to remain a factor for another month or so until the tourist trade gets busy (see average prices, below).

For now, the overall size of the laying flock at least shows no
sign of further expansion until July, based on projections of latest
chick placings.

Also fairly stable at the moment are feed costs, with a standard
layers’ ration showing little change in recent weeks and more than
£10/t down on the turn of the year.


However, ration costs remain at relatively high levels in historical terms and, correspondingly, profitability is close to an all-time low.

Likewise, the cost of rearing pullets is reaching new highs, reflected in the price of replacement birds.