WASHINGTON, DC, US — After rising in the second quarter, flour production in July-September 2021 slumped to 106.161 million cwts, down 2.422 million, or 2.2%, from 108.583 million a year ago, according to data issued Nov. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Department of Agriculture. Production for the third quarter was the smallest since NASS began gathering flour data in 2014. It was the smallest of any third quarter figures since 105,410,000 in 2011 when the North American Millers’ Association helped gather the data and since 104.859 million in 2006 under the US Bureau of the Census.
Production during the quarter was up 2.841 million, or 2.7%, from 103.32 million cwts in the second quarter of 2021. In the second quarter this year, flour production was 103.32 million cwts, up 1.27 million cwts, or 1.2%, from April-June 2020.
The record high for third-quarter flour production was 109.017 million cwts in 2007, and the largest flour production quarter ever was 110.332 million in October-December 2013.
January-September flour production totaled 313.116 million cwts, a decrease of 5.694 million cwts, or 1.8%, from 318.81 million in the first three quarters of 2020, the smallest for January-September since 305.747 million in 2011. The peak for the three quarters was 319.153 million cwts in 2018.
NASS data are now available for 29 consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when NASS took over from the North American Millers’ Association.
US 24-hour capacity in July-September was 1,585,762 cwts, unchanged from the second quarter and down 21,648 from 1,607,410 a year back.
Flour mill operating rate in July-September was 86.9%, up from 84.6% in the second quarter and down from 87.7% a year ago.
Wheat grind in the third quarter was 230.807 million bushels, down 3.383 million, or 1.4%, from 234.19 million a year ago; it was up 3.4% over 223.289 million bushels in the second.
Millfeed output in July-September totaled 1,683,426 tons, up 0.3% from 1,678,897 a year back. Millfeed production rose 3.4% from 1,585,762 in April-June.
Semolina production in July-September totaled 7.305 million, down 12% from 8.304 million in the third quarter of last year; it was up 0.8% from 7.247 million in April-June. January-September semolina production totaled 22.638 million cwts, down 11.6% from a record 25.599 million a year earlier. Output in the same three quarters of 2019 was 23.028 million and in 2018 was 23.651 million cwts.
Rye flour production during the third quarter of 2021 was 193,000 against 201,000 in the second quarter and 210,000 a year ago.