US egg producer and distributor Cal-Maine saw net income decline during the third quarter as profitability was affected by higher feed costs.

The US’ largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs said today (28 March) that for the third quarter ended 26 February, net income was down to US$33.6m against $34.5m in the same quarter of the previous year. However, its third quarter result was positively impacted by a one-time cash distribution of approximately $3.2m received in exchange for the company’s non-voting stock ownership in the Eggland’s Best cooperative.

Net sales grew 1.2% to $274.7m, while gross profit declined from $74.9m to $65.6m over the year.

The company said that feed costs increased some 5.7 cents per dozen eggs, which president and CEO Dolph Baker said reflected “higher overall grain prices, especially for corn, which are at near-record levels”.

“We expect this trend in grain prices to continue for the remainder of fiscal 2011 and beyond,” he said.