Quarterly U.S. flour production holds steady from year ago

by Neil Sosland
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Flour
Daily capacity at all-time high.
 

WASHINGTON — U.S. flour production in the third quarter of 2016 totaled 107.815 million cwts, down 0.1% from 107.879 million a year ago, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Output rose 3.8% from the second quarter 103.823 million.

NASS data are now available for nine consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when the agency took over from the North American Millers’ Association.

January-September flour output aggregated 315.543 million cwts, down 0.2% from 316.099 million in the first nine months of 2015. It also was 0.3% down from the record of 316.574 million cwts in the first nine months of 2014. The latter total and earlier data were compiled by NAMA from a panel of U.S. flour milling companies, with subsequent interpolation by World Grain’s sister publication, Milling & Baking News, to make data comparable with prior statistics from the Census Bureau.

U.S. 24-hour flour milling capacity in April-June was a near record of 1.620 million cwts, up from 1.615 million in the second quarter and 3,000 over a year back. The daily capacity record was 1.621 million cwts in April-June 2015. Flour mill operating rate in July-September was 86.4% of six-day daily capacity, up from 83.5% in the second quarter but down from 86.6% in the third quarter of 2015. It was the lowest operating rate for the third quarter in recent years.

NASS placed wheat grind in the third quarter at 233.236 million bushels, up 3.9% from 224.380 million in the second quarter but down 0.8% from 235.001 million a year ago.

Millfeed output in July-September totaled 1.687 million tons, up 4.5% from 1.614 million tons in the second but down 1.6% from 1.714 million a year ago.

Semolina production in April-June totaled 7.667 million cwts, up from 7.431 million in the second quarter and 7.450 million a year ago.

Rye flour production in the third quarter totaled 233,000 cwts, against 303,000 in the second quarter and 241,000 a year earlier.

NASS in the current report made modest downward revisions in its earlier second quarter output numbers. April-June capacity was raised 1,800 cwts.
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