Flour production for the first quarter of 105.612 million cwts was a record high, eclipsing the previous record set in 2017. First-quarter production was 103.909 million cwts in 2016 and 103.116 million cwts in 2015.
Daily 24-hour flour milling production capacity in the first quarter was estimated by the USDA at 1.642 billion cwts, up 22,030 cwts, or 1.4%, from 1.620 billion cwts in the fourth quarter of 2017 (as well as the estimate for the first quarter of 2017).
Mills during the third quarter of 2018 operated at 83.6% of daily milling capacity, down from 88.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 85.1% in the first quarter of 2017. The operating rate was slightly better than 83.5% in January-March 2016.
Semolina production in the first quarter was 8.156 million cwts, up 190,000 cwts, or 2.4%, from 7.966 million cwts in the first quarter of 2017.