Numbers make story more personal

With the additional numbers, the story became more interesting and “personal” to the reader.

Published on June 14, 2017 2:26PM


I am an engineer and mathematically inclined — I more or less grew up on the Judd Smith farm on the bank of the Willamette River eight miles south of Corvallis on the road to Monroe.

And my God, I do love your newspaper! You are so fine.

I am writing about the article, “Duck eggs fill market niche,” I found it interesting. I love the personal coverage the Capital Press gives such efforts. You are definitely not an “industrial management” kind of newspaper.

The duck egg story has some holes in it. I was interested enough to turn to the internet to see what I could find. The internet says that where a chicken lays — in real-world terms — three eggs in four days, a duck will lay one egg in that same four-day span.

I know these are the purest of ballpark numbers, but I’m a ballpark kinda guy.

So 365 days in the year divided by “an egg every four days” gives you 91 egg production days from a single duck per year. (1 duck equals 91 eggs/year).

Well good, Anthony Bordessa has 2,800 ducks so that multiplies out to 254,000 duck eggs per year. He prices them by the dozen, so 254,000 equates to 21,233 dozen. And he sells a dozen eggs for $8, so Anthony’s gross from eggs is $169,866.

Male ducks, and ducks past their prime, he would handle as a slaughter and sale profit center. The markets to which he sells eggs would happily resell the meat, offsetting such negative accounting numbers as the “cost of effecting product sales.”

As a separate agricultural operation, he would raise and harvest his own feed requirements.

Now let’s go back to the numbers — say that in four days a chicken will lay three eggs and a duck one egg. Chickens therefore out-lay ducks by 75 percent. But the Capital Press reports through the USDA that large buyers are paying $1.10 a dozen for chicken eggs.

Thus a dozen duck eggs at $8 are commanding a little over seven times the chicken egg price.

Now, even though these are wildly “ballpark numbers,” that’s interesting.

With the additional numbers that I’ve worked out, the story became more interesting and “personal” to me.

And, my God, I do so love your newspaper.

When I see the Capital Press in mailbox, I smile.

My goodness, if I were younger and lived back up in Oregon I’d want to write for you.

Judd Smith

Berkeley, Calif.



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