New breed standards were applied to the model of calculating egg production according to the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) November Egg Production Standards Report. This meant that the laying cycle was extended by 4 to 78 weeks.
SAPA said the new breed standards were gradually phased in from November 2017.
In 2017, the egg industry felt the effects of the HPAI outbreak as it had a negative knock on egg volumes as evidenced in the second half of that year. Since the changes in the model, SAPA claims to have seen an increase in egg numbers.
“The average weekly egg production during November 2019 increased by 60 700 cases (+14.6%) compared to November 2018. The rate of lay for the national flock for the month under review was estimated to be 86.5%.”
During the outbreak, South Africa faced a severe egg shortage especially in the Western Cape which was hit hardest. SAPA then introduced measures to curl this imbalance in supply. It announced the extension period of layer flocks and importing fertile layer eggs to farmers to incubate locally.
SAPA ceased all non-contractual exports of eggs before the model was adjusted.
“The model was adjusted from July 2017 to account for the culling of layers due to the HPAI outbreak; 4.69 million hens were taken out up to the end of October 2017. A further 30 000 laying hens were removed in June 2018. The model has been adjusted to allow for the day-old pullet exports as from January 2018” said SAPA.
The projected number of point-of-lay pullets to be transferred in in February 2020 was 2.19 million. “A total of 2.11-million-layer replacement pullets were transferred to the laying flock during the November month. Compared to the same month of the previous year this was an increase of 274 500 birds (+15.0%).”
The trend in laying flock of hens was estimated to be reach 29 million in February 2020. In November 2019, the laying of flock of hens increased month-to-month with an annual year-on-year increase of 3.8 million hens. South African egg production growth may have shown recovery but there still concerns of the prices of eggs not decreasing.