WASHINGTON – Commercial hatcheries in the 19-state weekly program set 197 million eggs in incubators during the week ending March 24, a decrease of 6 percent from the eggs set the corresponding period in 2012, according to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, US Department of Agriculture.

NASS said average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 85 percent. Average hatchability is calculated by dividing chicks hatched during the week by eggs set three weeks earlier.

Broiler-type chicks placed also were down 5 percent, according to NASS. Broiler growers placed 165 million chicks for meat production during the week ending March 24. Cumulative placements from Jan. 1 through March 24 were 1.94 billion, down 4 percent from the same period in 2011.