WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Flour production in July-September was 108.223 million cwts, down 169,000 cwts, or 0.2%, from 108.392 million a year ago, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Third-quarter production was 2.8% higher than 105.304 million cwts in the second quarter. The record high for the third quarter was 109.017 million cwts in 2007, and the largest flour production quarter ever was 110.332 million cwts in October-December 2013.

For the first three quarters of 2018, flour production totaled a record 319.139 million cwts, up 0.5% over 317.565 million cwts a year ago, the second highest total.

NASS data are now available for 17 consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when NASS took over from the North American Millers’ Association.

The year-to-date production figure was 0.8% larger than the third largest nine-month aggregate, at 316.574 million cwts in 2014, followed by 316.099 million cwts in 2015; the 2016 total was fifth at 315.623 million cwts.

U.S. 24-hour capacity in July-September was at the high of 1.643 million cwts, unchanged from the second quarter and up from 1.62 million cwts a year back.

Flour mill operating rate in July-September was 86.7%, up from 83.3% in the second quarter but down from 86.9% a year ago.

Wheat grind in the third quarter was 232.908 million bus, down 0.6% from 234.279 million a year ago; it was up 2.8% over 226.627 million bus in the second.

Millfeed output in July-September totaled 1.628 million tons, down 0.8% from 1.641 million tons a year back. Millfeed production rose 2.1% from 1.595 million tons in April-June.

Semolina production in July-September totaled 7.877 million cwts, up 1.1% from 7.788 million cwts in the third quarter of last year; it was 3.4% over 7.618 million cwts in April-June. January-September semolina production totaled 23.651 million cwts, up 1% over 23.41 million cwts a year earlier and the highest three-quarter number since the start of NASS data.

Rye flour production during the third quarter of 2018 was 211,000 cwts against 225,000 in the second and 206,000 a year ago.