WASHINGTON — Although fourth-quarter output lagged last year’s record total, U.S. flour production for all of 2014 set a new high for the second successive year, according to data provided by the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) as interpolated by Milling & Baking News. NAMA data was compiled by Veris Consulting, Inc.

Translating NAMA data into numbers comparable with earlier U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Milling & Baking News now estimates 2014 wheat flour output at a record 425,937,000 cwts, up 0.3% from the previous high of 424,550,000 in 2013 and up 1.1% from 421,270,000 in 2000, the third largest.
Rate of grind in 2014 was computed at 88.1% of average capacity in 2014, compared with 89.4% in 2013.

NAMA (based on its flour milling panel) reported production of 103,413,000 cwts in the fourth quarter, as well as 102,835,000 in the third, 100,733,000 in the second and 98,737,000 in the first for an aggregate of 405,066,000. That compares with 403,747,000 cwts in 2013 and 401,028,000 cwts for 2012, the other two years in which flour production was not gathered by the U.S. government’s Bureau of the Census. Effective with the start of 2015, flour production will be reported by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In order to render NAMA numbers comparable with the earlier Census data Milling & Baking News estimated the NAMA panel at 95.1% of the U.S. milling industry in 2013, against 95.4% in 2012 and the last half of 2011 after the Census halted its reports.

NAMA reported 24-hour U.S. daily milling capacity at 1,504,385 cwts, against 1,478,945 a year back. Interpolated this was 1,582,000 cwts against 1,553,000. This was the largest since the record April-June 2001 when it was 1,604,000.

Despite the new annual record, interpolated October-December 2014 decreased 1.4% to 108,741,000 cwts from the record fourth quarter of 110,332,000 in 2013.Nevertheless, the current October-December was up 1.2% from July-September at 107,448,000. The second largest quarter and the prior record was the fourth quarter of 2000 when it was 109,673,000. The third largest was July-September 2007 at 109,617,000 and the fourth July-September 2014 at 108,741,000.