Quarterly U.S. flour production slightly higher once again

by Neil Sosland
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Flour production by U.S. mills in the second quarter of 2017 totaled 104.403 million cwts, up 0.6% from 103.823 million a year ago, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Production was down 1.4% from the record second quarter of 105.923 million cwts in 2014. It also was 0.3% below 104.705 million cwts in the first quarter of this year. NASS data are now available for 12 consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when NASS took over from the North American Millers’ Association.

It was the second quarter in a row with a small gain relative to the year-ago quarter. January-June flour output in 2017 aggregated 209.108 million cwts, an increase of 0.7% from 207.732 million cwts in the first half of 2016. It was 0.3% down from the first-half high of 209.748 million cwts in 2014.

U.S. 24-hour milling capacity in April-June was 1.62 million cwts, unchanged from the first but up from 1.615 million a year back.

Flour mill operating rate in April-June was 83.7% of six-day week capacity, down from 85.1% in the first quarter but up from 83.5% in April-June 2016.

Wheat grind in the second quarter totaled 224.160 million bus, up 0.1% from 223.964 million in the first and down 0.1% from 224.382 million a year ago.

Millfeed output in April-June totaled 1.568 million tons, down 1.1% from 1.586 million tons in the first and down 2.7% from 1.614 million a year ago.

Durum semolina production in April-June totaled 7.527 million cwts, down 5.5% from 7.966 million in the first quarter but up 2.6% from 7.338 million a year ago.

Rye flour production in the second quarter totaled 215,000 cwts, against 222,000 in the first and 303,000 a year earlier.

While the two 2017 quarters and all the 2015 and 2016 data were compiled by NASS, for 2014 only the third and fourth quarters came from NASS. January-June data originated from NAMA’s panel of the largest U.S. milling companies and subsequent interpolation by Milling & Baking News to make the data comparable with earlier statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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