WASHINGTON — Whole wheat flour production in January-March totaled 5,515,000 cwts, down 10% from the same period a year earlier, according to data issued May 2 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At 5.5 million cwts, whole wheat flour production hovered at the lowest levels since NASS began gathering flour production statistics, dating back to the middle of 2014. Whole wheat production in the first quarter of 2016 was down 10% from 6,154,000 cwts in the final quarter of 2015.
Whole wheat flour production has been erratic from one quarter to the next, averaging swings of 9%. By contrast, overall flour production rarely moves more than 3% from one quarter to the next.
Still, whole wheat production of 5,515,000 cwts in the most recent quarter was essentially unchanged from 5,517,000 cwts in July-September 2014, the first quarter for which NASS collected the data.Whole wheat flour production in the first quarter of 2016 equated to 5.3% of U.S. flour production versus 5.9% in the first quarter of 2015. For all of 2015, whole wheat flour production totaled 24,115,000 cwts, or 5.7% of total U.S. flour production for the year.