WASHINGTON — Most major regions in the first half of 2009 maintained their past shares of the nation’s flour production with the notable exception of the Midwest, according to the Bureau of the Census of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Mills in the hard winter wheat territory recorded a significant decrease in its share of the U.S. total, while spring wheat states and groupings recorded an even greater increase. Changes for the rest of the country were minor.

Kansas, the traditional leading state until recently, ranked fourth in January-June output, behind the grouping of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin as well as California and Minnesota.

While still the leading milling area, hard winter states and groupings, made up of Kansas, the grouping of Oklahoma and Colorado, the grouping of Nebraska and Iowa, and Texas, in January-June 2009 produced 3% less than in January-June 2008. The area’s output totaled 39,914,000 cwts, which was 19.7% of the national total. In the first six months of last year, hard winter states produced 41,163,000 cwts, or 20.2%.

Spring wheat states, comprising Minnesota, North Dakota, and the grouping of Montana and Idaho, turned out 29,512,000 cwts, or 14.6% of the total, up 3.3% from 28,561,000, or 14% a year back.

Mills in the South, including the grouping of Alabama and Louisiana, the grouping of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, North Carolina, the grouping of Tennessee and Kentucky, and the grouping of Virginia and Maryland, produced 29,418,000 cwts, which was 14.5% of the U.S. total. That was down 0.3% from 29,517,000, or 14.5% a year ago.

Western states output aggregated 24,058,000, or 11.9%, down 1.3% from 24,379,000, or 12%, last year. Eastern mills, including Pennsylvania and the grouping of New York and New Jersey, produced 24,677,000 cwts, or 12.2%, up 0.1% from 24,656,000, or 12.1% in the first half of 2008.

Central states production, including Missouri, Illinois, the grouping of Indiana and Wisconsin, and Ohio and an estimate for Michigan, totaled 16,658,000 cwts, or 8.2%, up 1.2% from 16,457,000, or 8.1% in the first half of the prior year.

The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) provides funding to the Census Bureau in support of the compilation of the data on flour milling production and wheat grind.

The Census Bureau in the current report did not report production data for Michigan. Milling & Baking News provided its own Michigan estimate for the regional comparisons. It also did not provide data for the all other states grouping.

Among the overall geographical entities, including both individual states and groupings, a total of 11 recorded gains and nine recorded decreases. The U.S. aggregate was off 0.6%. Leading the increases for January-June as compared to a year earlier was Nebraska and Iowa, up 12%, followed by Virginia and Maryland, 11.5%; North Dakota, 8.1%; Alabama and Louisiana, 6.3%; North Carolina, 4.6%; Washington and Oregon, 3.2%; Texas, and Ohio, both 2.1%; Minnesota, 1.2%; Montana and Idaho, 0.6% and Pennsylvania, 0.3%.

The sharpest decrease was Kansas, off 14.2%, followed by Tennessee and Kentucky, 5.3%; Missouri, 4.9%; Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, 4%; Utah, 3.4%; Oklahoma and Colorado, 2.7%; Illinois Indiana and Wisconsin, 2.1%; California, 1.8% and New York and New Jersey, 0.1%.

Leading the individual geographical entities for January-June was Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin at 15,829,000 cwts, off 2.1% from 16,163,000 a year back. It accounted for 7.8% of the national total, down from 7.9% a year ago.

Second was California totaling 15,167,000 cwts, down 1.8% from 15,450,000 in the first half of 2008. California mills were 7.5% of the aggregate, off from 7.6%.

Minnesota production totaled 14,181,000 cwts, up 1.2% from 14,008,000 a year ago.

Kansas output aggregated 13,897,000 in the first half of 2009, down 14.2% from 16,206,000 in January-June 2008.

New York and New Jersey came to 13,170,000 cwts, off 0.1% from 13,186,000 a year back.

Ohio output in the first half was 12,978,000, against 12,707,000, up 2.1%.

Missouri production totaled 12,518,000, off 4.9% from 13,165,000 a year ago.

Pennsylvania in January-June aggregated 11,507,000, up 0.3% from 11,470,000 a year ago.

U.S. capacity in the most recent quarter, April-June, was off 14,539 cwts from a year back. Increases were Tennessee and Kentucky, 5,100; Nebraska and Iowa, 3,120; California 2,800; Washington and Oregon, 2,000; New York and New Jersey, 1,900; Oklahoma and Colorado, 1,000; Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, 800; Ohio, 500 and Texas, 400.

Decreases were Kansas, down a sizable 21,000, followed by Pennsylvania, off 5,000; North Carolina, 2,500; Minnesota, 1,500; Missouri, 1,409 as well as Virginia and Maryland, 650.

U.S. rate of grind in April -June was up 0.4% over a year back to 86.4%. The largest percent gain was North Dakota, gaining 12.4% to 87.6%. It was followed by North Carolina, up 11.1% to 92.8%; Virginia and Maryland, 8.1% to 85%; Pennsylvania, 3.3% to 91.3%; Kansas, 2.8% to 74.9%; New York and New Jersey, 2.7% to 85.6%; Utah, 2.3% to 79.8%; Nebraska and Iowa, 1.6% to 94.8%; Alabama and Louisiana, 1.2% to 105%; Texas, 0.8% to 76.5%; and Minnesota, 0.2% to 79.4%.

The sharpest percent decrease was Tennessee and Kentucky, down 12% to 91.6% followed by Missouri off 5.5% to 79.8%; Ohio, 5.4% to 97.2%; California 5% to 88.8%; Washington and Oregon, 3.4% to 81.6%; Oklahoma and Colorado, 3.3% to 83.6%; Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, 2.6% to 87.3%; Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. 1.5% to 99% as well as Montana and Idaho, 1.3% to 95.3%.