Whole wheat flour production down in 2016

by Josh Sosland
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Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat flour production in 2016 totaled 22,414,000 cwts.

WASHINGTON — Whole wheat flour production in 2016 totaled 22,414,000 cwts, a 7% decrease from the year before, according to data issued Feb. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Whole wheat production in each quarter of 2016 was smaller than outturn in the corresponding quarter in 2015.

At 22,414,000 cwts, whole wheat flour production accounted for 5.3% of U.S. flour production in 2016, down from 5.7% in 2015 but up from 5% in 2014.

While down sharply from 2015, whole wheat production last year was larger than 21,312,000 cwts in 2014 but smaller than 23,142,000 cwts in 2013 and 23,246,000 cwts in 2012. The figures for 2012 through 2014 represent revised estimates by Milling & Baking News based on data from Veris Consulting (2012-14) and NASS (July-September 2014).

The revisions were calculated based on comparisons of whole wheat figures from Veris (which, funded by the North American Millers’ Association, surveyed the largest milling companies) and NASS figures for the two quarters of 2014. The NASS estimate was 22.5% larger than Veris in the third quarter of 2014 and 21.7% larger in the fourth. Based on this difference, Milling & Baking News has raised its estimate of earlier whole wheat production figures from Veris by 22% to provide improved comparability of NASS and Veris whole wheat production data.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 alone, whole wheat flour production was 5,679,000 cwts, down 8% from 6,154,000 cwts in the fourth quarter of 2015. Production was down 6% from 6,052,000 cwts in the third quarter of 2016.

Whole wheat flour accounted for 5.2% of U.S. flour production in the fourth quarter, down from 5.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and compared with 5% in the fourth quarter of 2014. 
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