Monday, April 28, 2008

Cost of backyard eggs about to rise?

We're about to hit the bottom of another 50 pound bag of chicken feed, and that means it's time to head on over to the San Mateo Pet Supply store to get another.

I can only hope it's the same $11.99 for 50# of layer crumbles as its always been, but I have a sneaking suspicion the price will have gone up.

Why? The latest story in USA Today (courtesy Google News alters, I don't subscribe) titled "Buyers shell out for eggs as producer costs rise."

What has driven egg prices up 35% in the last twelve weeks?

Just about everything, says Thomas Elam, president of FarmEcon, an agricultural consulting firm in Carmel, Ind. Start with the cost of chicken feed, which consists of about 57% corn and 26% soybeans. The rest is animal fats and minerals, such as calcium, which keep eggshells strong.

The cost of corn and soybeans isn't chicken feed these days. Start with the cost of fertilizer needed to grow the crops, up 27.1% the past 12 months, in part because of rising energy prices. A big part of the cost of producing potash, a fertilizer ingredient, is the price of natural gas, up 24.3% the past 12 months.

Corn prices also have soared because of global demand from China and India. And, because of biofuel mandates from the government and the high price of gasoline, corn is increasingly being used to make ethanol fuel. The more corn that goes into making ethanol, the less that's available for chicken feed — and that drives up prices, too.

Soybean prices have risen even more than corn prices in the past 12 months, in part because many farmers switched from planting soybeans to corn last year. Many farmers are rotating back to soybeans this year, Elam says, in part because it costs less to produce an acre of soybeans than an acre of corn. But that, in turn, will push up corn prices this year.

Yes, we're only dealing with small-scale feeding here in our own backyard, so any cost increase will not hit us too hard.

Given the fact I haven't even bothered to look at the price of eggs in the store recently, I can only wonder how much money we're saving having our own hens.

I'll do the research and follow up in a post later this week.


Granny Annie said...

We have to drive about ten miles to the nearest grain elevator to buy feed so gasoline has to be calculated in our costs. We buy cracked corn and whole corn. The last cracked corn we bought was $7.50 per 50 lb. We also go tomorrow for more feed and are expecting the price to be up. I'll let you know how much ours costs.

Eggs in the local WalMart are between $1.40 and $1.90 per dozen. Organic eggs are around $2.15. Right now we use our eggs and give away the excess to family and friends. It is primarily a hobby. But with these 30 new chicks, assuming at least half of them survive, we'll be getting lots of eggs and I might start selling the eggs to defray some of the feed costs.

Granny Annie said...

My cracked corn feed was $9.00 yesterday. That's a pretty big jump from $7.50!


Related Posts with Thumbnails