WASHINGTON — Major regions in the first half of 2009 showed significant change in their shares of the nation’s flour production, particularly the Midwest and South, 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. Central states also were off moderately, while spring wheat and South states and groupings recorded sizable increases. Changes for the rest of the country were minor.

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

The second largest milling area, hard winter states and groupings, made up of Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa as well as 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%. Rate of grind for hard winter in April-June 2009 was 80.8% of six-day capacity, compared with 78.5% in January-March and 79.1% in the second quarter of 2008.

Spring wheat states, comprising Minnesota, North Dakota as well as 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. Spring wheat mill operations averaged 84.8% in the second quarter, against 84.6% in the first and 80.7% a year ago.

The third largest region, the South, including Alabama and Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky as well as Virginia and Maryland, produced 35,407,000 cwts, which was 17.5% of the U.S. total. That was up 1.5% from 34,890,000, when it was 17.1% of the national aggregate a year ago. Mills in the South ran at the highest rate of any region, averaging 91.5% in April-June, against 89.5% in the first quarter of 2009 and 90.2% in the second 2008 quarter.

Western states output aggregated 24,058,000 cwts, or 11.9%, down 1.3% from 24,379,000, or 12%, last year. Western grind in April-June was 85.5%, against 87.7% in the first quarter and 88.5% a year back.

Eastern mills, including Pennsylvania as well as 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. Rate of grind for eastern units was 88.2%, against 88.9% in the first quarter and 85.3% a year ago.

The largest region, Central states production, including Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin as well as Ohio and an estimate for Michigan, totaled 45,005,000 cwts, or 22.2%, down 1.7% from 45,785,000, or 22.5%, in the first half of the prior year. Central states mills operated at 90.6% in April-June, against 94.2% in the first quarter and 94.1% a year back.

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 include production for Michigan. Milling & Baking News provided its own Michigan estimate for the regional comparisons. The Census 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 9 decreases. The U.S. aggregate was down 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, up 11.5%; North Dakota, up 8.1%; Alabama and Louisiana, up 6.3%; North Carolina, up 4.6%; Washington and Oregon, up 3.2%; Texas, and Ohio, both up 2.1%; Minnesota, up 1.2%; Montana and Idaho, up 0.6% and Pennsylvania, up 0.3%.

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

Leading the individual geographical entities for January-June was Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin at 15,829,000 cwts, down 2.1% from 16,163,000 cwts 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 cwts in the first half of 2008. California mills were 7.5% of the aggregate, down 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 cwts 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, down 0.1% from 13,186,000 a year back.

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

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

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

U.S. capacity in the most recent quarter, April-June, was down 14,539 cwts from a year earlier. Among states, increases were Tennessee and Kentucky, up 5,100; Nebraska and Iowa, up 3,120; California, up 2,800; Washington and Oregon, up 2,000; New York and New Jersey, up 1,900; Oklahoma and Colorado, up 1,000; Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, up 800; Ohio, up 500 and Texas, up 400. Decreases were Kansas, down 21,000 cwts, followed by Pennsylvania, off 5,000; North Carolina, down 2,500; Minnesota, down 1,500; Missouri, down 1,409 as well as Virginia and Maryland, down 650.

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

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

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Milling and Baking News, August 25, 2009, starting on Page 14. Click

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