WASHINGTON — Flour production by U.S. mills in the second quarter of 2016 totaled 103,971,000 cwts, down 1.1% from 105,104,000 a year ago, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Output also was down 1.8% from the record second quarter of 105,923,000 in 2014. The second quarter did gain 0.1% over 103,905,000 in the first quarter of this year when quarterly output was a high for that period.
NASS data are now available for eight consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when NASS took over quarterly compilations from the North American Millers’ Association.
While the two 2016 quarters and all the 2015 data were compiled by NASS, for 2014 only the third and fourth quarters came from NASS. January-June data originated from NAMA’s panel of the largest U.S. milling companies and subsequent interpolation by Milling & Baking News to make the data comparable with earlier statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Along with the first-quarter record, January-June flour output aggregated 207,876,000 cwts, down 0.2% from 208,220,000 in the first half of 2015. It also was down 0.9% from the high of 209,748,000 in the first half of 2014.
U.S. flour milling’s 24-hour capacity in April-June was 1,613,000 cwts, down from 1,614,000 in the first and the record 1,621,000 a year back. In the only revision of prior data, the first-quarter capacity was marked off a rounded 4,000 cwts.
Flour mill operating rate in April-June averaged 83.7% of six-day capacity, up slightly from 83.6% in the first quarter but down from 84.2% in April-June 2015.
Wheat grind in the second quarter totaled 224,780,000 bus, up 0.3% from 224,212,000 in the first 2016 quarter but down 1.2% from 227,452,000 a year ago.
Millfeed output in April-June totaled 1,615,743 tons, up 1.2% from 1,595,888 tons in the first but down 1.7% from 1,643,116 a year ago.
Durum semolina production included in the flour output figures in April-June totaled 7,431,000 cwts, compared with 7,709,000 in the first quarter and 7,072,000 a year ago.Rye flour production in the second totaled 306,000 cwts, against 266,000 in the first and 250,000 a year earlier.