WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Flour production in the second quarter of 2018 totaled 105.303 million cwts, up 0.8% from 104.468 million cwts in the same period in 2017, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While up from last year, second-quarter flour production fell shy of the peak for April-June of 105.923 million cwts in 2014. It also was down 0.3% from 105.612 million cwts in the first quarter of 2018.
January-June flour output aggregated a record 210.915 million cwts, an increase of 0.8% from 209.173 million in the first half of 2017. It was 0.6% up from the previous high of 209.748 million in the first half of 2014.
U.S. 24-hour capacity in April-June was a peak 1.643 million cwts, up from 1.642 million in the first quarter and 1.62 million a year back. Flour mill operating rate in April-June was 83.2%, down from 83.6% in the first quarter and 83.8% in April-June 2017.
Wheat grind in the second quarter at 226.627 million bushels was down 0.2% from 227.147 million in the first quarter but up 1% from 224.487 million a year ago.
Millfeed output in April-June totaled 1,594,864 tons, down 0.7% from 1,606,569 tons in the first quarter but up 1% from 1,578,569 a year ago.
Semolina production in April-June totaled 7.617 million cwts, down 6.6% from 8.156 million in the first quarter and 0.5% smaller than 7.656 million a year ago.
Rye flour production in the second quarter totaled 225,000 cwts, which compared with 234,000 cwts in the first quarter and 215,000 cwts a year earlier.
With the latest report, the USDA now has generated data for 16 consecutive quarters, or four years, when NASS took over from the North American Millers’ Association.
While the two 2018 quarters and all the 2015-17 data were compiled by NASS, for 2014 only the third and fourth quarters came from NASS. January-June data in 2014 originated from NAMA’s panel of the largest U.S. milling companies and subsequent interpolation by Milling & Baking News, a sister publication of World Grain, to make the data comparable with earlier statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.