WASHINGTON, DC, US — Even as total flour production surged to a record high for the third quarter of 2022, production of whole wheat flour in July-September was down from a year earlier.
Third-quarter whole wheat flour production was 4.63 million cwts, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Department of Agriculture, down 344,000 cwts, or 7%, from 4.974 million cwts a year earlier. Third-quarter whole wheat flour production in 2020 was 4.908 million cwts. The total was the smallest for any third quarter since NASS began tracking flour production in 2014. Production in the quarter was up 2.1% from 4.536 million cwts in the second quarter.
Whole wheat flour accounted for 4.2% of all US flour production in July-September, down from 4.7% the year before and compared with 4.2% in April-June of this year.
In the first nine months of 2022, whole wheat flour production was 14.416 million cwts, down 284,000 cwts, or 1.9%, from 14.7 million cwts in the same period of 2021.
Whole wheat semolina production was 123,000 cwts in the third quarter, down 115,000 cwts, or 48% from 238,000 cwts in July-September 2021. While off sharply from a year ago, third quarter semolina production was the largest for any quarter so far in 2022 – up from 84,000 cwts in the second quarter and 95,000 cwts in the first quarter.
Whole wheat semolina production accounted for 1.6% of US semolina production in the third quarter, down from 3.3% in the third quarter last year but up from 1.1% in the second quarter.
Production of whole wheat semolina in January-September was 302,000 cwts, down 43% from 528,000 cwts in the same period in 2021.
Excluding semolina, whole wheat flour production in the third quarter was 4.507 million cwts, down 229,000 cwt cwts, or 4.8%, from 4.736 million cwts in the third quarter of 2021. Production was up 1.2% from 4.452 million cwts in the second quarter of this year.
Production of whole wheat flour ex-semolina accounted for 4.4% of US flour production in the third quarter, compared with 4.8% a year earlier and 4.5% in the second quarter of the current year. The 4.4% figure was the lowest for any quarter during the NASS era. The peak was 6.3% in the first quarter of 2015.Whole wheat flour production ex-semolina was 14.144 million cwts year to date, down 0.4% from 14.172 million cwts in January-September 2021.