WASHINGTON, DC, US – The good news? Third-quarter whole wheat flour production was up from a year earlier.
The not so good news? Accounting for the entire gain, and then some, was a highly unusual jump in production of whole wheat semolina. Whole wheat flour production ex-semolina was down from a year earlier.
According to data published Nov. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Department of Agriculture, total production of whole wheat flour in July-September was 4.974 million cwts, up 66,000 cwts, or 1.3%, from 4.908 million cwts in the third quarter of 2020. The quarterly total was up 2.2% from 4.866 million cwts in the second quarter of the year.
At 4.974 million cwts, whole wheat flour production in July-September accounted for 4.7% of total US flour production of 106.161 million cwts. It was the third straight quarter in which whole wheat flour production held a 4.7% share of total flour production. In 2020, the whole wheat share ranged from 4.4% to 5.4%.
In the first three quarters of the year, whole wheat flour production was 14.7 million cwts, down 569,000 cwts, or 3.7%, from 15.269 million cwts in January-September 2020.
Whole wheat semolina production in the third quarter was 238,000 cwts, up 104,000 cwts, or 78%, from 134,000 cwts in the same period last year. Production in the quarter was the largest for whole wheat semolina for any quarter since the third quarter of 2015 when production was 339,000 cwts.
Whole wheat semolina production equated to 3.3% of all semolina production in the third quarter, up from 1.5% a year earlier and from 2% in the second quarter of this year.
During the first nine months of 2021, whole wheat semolina production was 528,000 cwts, up 13% from 469,000 cwts the prior-year period.
Production of whole wheat flour ex semolina was 4.736 million cwts, down 38,000, down 0.8% from 4.774 million cwts in the third quarter last year. Whole wheat flour ex-semolina accounted for 4.8% of all flour production ex-semolina in the third quarter, the same as last year.
Year-to-date production of whole wheat flour ex-semolina was 14.172 million cwts, down 4.2% from 14.8 million cwts in the same period the previous year.
Unusual surge in semolina lifts total