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MARKETS: Fipronil supports wholesale prices through summer

Things have remained on a largely even keel during the past 4 weeks of the summer, carrying the UK market through one of the most challenging times of the year.

It was ‘helped’ by the Dutch egg crisis with around 200 units placed on lock down for more than a fortnight, creating a hole in supplies across the EU which in turn supported prices in the UK.

With schools returning and the trade now entering the long run up to Christmas, traders will be hoping that the market remains firm and stable during the weeks to come.

RETAIL PRICES FOR EGGS (Top 3 supermarkets)

A month ago there was a very tight market for colony eggs, and the demand for these has remained generally steady, reports the Central Egg Agency.

CEA’s prices for colony have now lost a few pence on Large and Mediums, but all sizes are still up to 10p/doz above the levels seen in the early part of the summer.

On free range, wholesale prices had also moved forwards a little in July, and the 2 top sizes have continued to do so, with Large gaining 10p/doz at CEA last month. However, it reported there was a bit more free range about at the start of September.

Another factor helping the market is the pause in the expansion of the UK laying flock. New free range units are still believed to be coming into play, but the total number of day-old pullet placings, for all systems combined, has effectively levelled off since the back end of last year.

It means that the overall number of birds in lay has now remained at around the 36m mark since April. This is giving the market a chance to pause for breath after the increase of one million birds a year in the previous four years.

With free range growing, it is to be supposed that colony output is easing back, although this trend is yet to appear in the figures from Defra, which to date only go as far as June.

As pointed out last month, the one trend that has appeared during the first six months of this year is a 50% cut in barn egg production, according to Defra.

Ken Randall

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