The NSW egg industry continued to face very difficult operating conditions during the year. The continuation of drought conditions meant grain prices remained elevated. Producers also faced the additional challenge of an outbreak of salmonella. As a result, egg supply fluctuated during the year. Uncertain supply led to stronger prices. The consumer led transition from cage produced eggs to free range and barn produced eggs continued.
The Biosecurity Warrior delivers science-based content and messaging from the DPI educational charter to educate the community and help spread the message that biosecurity is a shared responsibility.
We all have a role to play in protecting our economy, environment and community from pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants. DPI aims to turn every person in the state into a Biosecurity Warrior by ensuring they know how to identify biosecurity risks and take action to eliminate them.
The NSW Egg Monitoring Diary has been developed by the DPI to assist egg businesses to comply with the legal requirement to implement the Biosecurity (Salmonella Enteritidis) Control Order 2019.
This monitoring diary has been specifically developed for all egg businesses including those who carry out processing such as crack detection, washing and grading.
In order to comply with the monitoring requirements all monitoring records provided in this diary must be completed and kept for at least two years.
Production was estimated to have remained relatively flat during 2019-20. A combination of two successive yearly declines in the number of laying chicks hatched, continued drought conditions and outbreaks of salmonella led to a reduction in production at the start of the year. However, supported by strong demand, production recovered by the end of the year. Whilst there was a surge in demand for eggs as a result of COVID-19, production was not significantly impacted.
Population growth, increased demand from COVID-19 and the continuing popularity of eggs as an alternative source of protein supported demand. Per capita consumption remained broadly flat at 246 eggs per capita 43.
The continued switch by consumers from cage produced eggs to higher priced free range and barn produced eggs, some early supply shortages at the beginning of the year and increased demand due to COVID-19 pushed up average price by an estimated 5.4% 22. Eggs are typically produced in an intensive farming system and, along with pork and chicken, have become an important and very affordable form of protein. Prices have risen at a significantly lower rate than traditional protein sources such as beef and lamb.
International trade in eggs is small and is usually influenced by outbreaks of avian influenza. There were no significant outbreaks of avian influenza during the year and production recovered in the Philippines, which had a severe outbreak several years ago, reducing demand. NSW exports fell 81% 94 during 2019-20. Australian exports were not as badly impacted due to a significant increase in demand from Singapore, primarily supplied from Queensland.
High feed costs continue to be the biggest challenge facing the industry. Grain prices remain elevated although recent rains in key grain growing areas give some hope that prices may moderate during the year. There have been some delays in resolving new animal welfare standards. The uncertainty is limiting new investment in cage production systems however, investment in new free range and barn systems continues. The demand spike experienced during the early stages of the COVID-19 shows that eggs remain a very important part of consumer’s diet.