WASHINGTON — In the face of hints of a further noticeable shift in flour milling geography, U.S. Census data for 2009 show little in the way of appreciable changes from the preceding year. Spring wheat states did increase their share of the national total and eastern mills recorded smaller gains, while mills of the Central states, hard winter region and western states saw their shares of output reduced. Mills in the South held steady. Preliminary statistics reflect data generated by the four quarterly flour milling reports issued so far this year.

Flour production in the spring wheat territory (Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana and Idaho) in 2009 totaled 60,237,000 cwts, up 3.2% from 58,348,000 in 2008. Mills in this region accounted for 14.5% of the U.S. total production in 2009, against 14% in the prior year. Eastern region (Pennsylvania as well as New York and New Jersey) aggregated 51,430,000 cwts, a gain of 1.1% over 50,873,000 in 2008. This represented 12.4% of the aggregate, against 12.2% in 2008.

Central states flour output (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, as well as Michigan interpolated and Ohio) in 2009 produced 92,342,000 cwts, down 1.9% from 94,095,000 in 2008. It represented 22.3% of the national aggregate, down from 22.6% a year earlier.

Hard winter mills (Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, as well as Nebraska and Iowa along with Texas) in 2009 produced 82,837,000, down 2% from 84,518,000 in the previous year. This was 20% of the aggregate, off from 20.3% in the prior year. Western states (California as well as Washington and Oregon and Utah) turned out 48,740,000 cwts, down 1.1% from 49,275,000 in the preceding year. This represented 11.8% of U.S. production in both years.

Southern states mills produced 59,418,000 cwts in 2009, largely unchanged from 59,444,000 in 2008. It represented 14.3% in the U.S. aggregate in both years.

Flour production in eight states and state groupings in 2009 increased over 2008, while 12 registered decreases, according to preliminary data.

Leading in 2009 output increases over 2008 was North Dakota, posting a gain of 11.5%, followed by Virginia and Maryland, up 7.1%; Nebraska and Iowa, 6.7%; Alabama and Louisiana, 5.5%; Montana and Idaho, 3%; New York and New Jersey, 2.5%; North Carolina, 1.6%; and Washington and Oregon, 1.3%.

The sharpest decrease was in Kansas, down 8.1%, followed by Utah, down 4.8%; Missouri, 4%; Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, 3.5%; Minnesota, 2%; Tennessee and Kentucky, 1.5%; Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, 1.4%; Oklahoma and Colorado, 1.4%; Ohio, 0.8%; Pennsylvania, 0.6%; California, 0.5% and Texas, 0.3%.

Data for all other states — Arizona, Hawaii, Maine and Massachusetts — were not available.

U.S. flour production in 2008 was down 0.3% from the prior year.

The North American Millers’ Association provides funding to the Census Bureau in support of the compilations of these milling statistics.

Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin ranked first among the states and state groupings in flour production at 32,169,000 cwts, down 1.4% from 32,635,000 in 2008. Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin accounted for 7.8% in both 2009 and 2008.

California ranked second at 30,311,000 cwts, down 0.5% from 30,458,000 in the prior year. The latter accounted for 7.3% of the national total in both years.

In third place in 2009 was Kansas, at 30,187,000 cwts, down 8.1% from 32,842,000 in 2008. Kansas mills produced 34,614,000 in 2007, 35,264,000 in 2006, 34,767,000 in 2005 and 36,629,000 in 2004.

Kansas in 2009 accounted for 7.3% of national flour production, down from 7.9% in 2008. The 2009 share for Kansas was the smallest of recent history and contrasts with the peak share of 13% in 1977 when the state produced 35,769,000 cwts.

Minnesota in 2009 ranked fourth, turning out 28,323,000 cwts, down 2% from 28,892,000 in 2008. Minnesota’s share of national output in 2009 was 6.8%, down from 6.9% in 2008 and 7.2% in 2007.

Ranking fifth was New York and New Jersey combined at 28,076,000 cwts, a gain of 2.5% from 27,388,000 in the prior year. This represented a share of 6.8% in 2009, against 6.6% in 2008.

Missouri mills were in sixth place in 2009, producing 26,519,000 cwts, down 4% from 27,612,000 in the preceding year. Missouri mills accounted for 6.4% of the aggregate in 2009, down from 6.6% in 2008.

Ohio mills in 2009 came in seventh among individual states and state-groupings, producing 25,594,000 cwts, down 0.8% from 25,790,000 in 2008. Mills in Ohio turned out 6.2% of the national total in both 2009 and 2008.

Pennsylvania mills in 2009 were in eighth place. Production was 23,354,000 cwts, down 0.6% from 23,485,000 in 2008. Pennsylvania mills in 2009 accounted for 5.6% of the U.S. total in both years.

Daily flour milling capacity at the end of 2009 in most geographical regions was up from a year earlier. The only exceptions were the South and Central states.

Daily capacity in the South decreased 5,800 cwts. Georgia, Florida and South Carolina were down 3,600, North Carolina, 2,300 and Virginia and Maryland 150. Tennessee and Kentucky were up 100. Western area was off 2,800 cwts, all in California. Hard winter belt was up 400 cwts. Oklahoma and Colorado gained 1,000 and Texas 400 while Kansas was off 1,000. Spring wheat region capacity rose 1,100. North Dakota expanded capacity by 2,000, offset by a 900 decrease for Minnesota. Capacity in the Eastern states was up 1,700. Of this 1,200 was in New York and New Jersey and 500 in Pennsylvania. Central states capacity ended off 1,071. Missouri lost 1,871 and Michigan went down 100, offset by Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, up 900. All other capacity gained 150, while the national total moved up 1,629.

Between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the end of 2008, rate of grind increased and decreased in three geographical regions although one of the decreases was marginal.

The sharpest increase occurred in the South where grind was up 4.2 percentage points to 93.7%. Tennessee and Kentucky were up 6.9 to 99.1% Georgia, Florida and South Carolina five to 92.7%, and Alabama and Louisiana 4.5 to 101.9%. Virginia and Maryland were off one to 82.6%. Spring wheat area gained 1.5 to 86.6%. North Dakota was up 6.2 to 86.7%, Montana and Idaho 2.1 to 101.3% while Minnesota was off 1.9 to 81.7%. Hard winter belt gained 0.5 to 81.7%. Nebraska and Iowa gained 4.2 to 91.9% and Kansas 1.6 to 77.3%. Texas was off three to 77.2% and Oklahoma and Colorado down 1.7 to 86.1%. Central states region was down 3.4 percentage points to 94.2%, Missouri was off 5.4 to 84%, Ohio down 4.7 to 95.6% and Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin off 2.4 to 102.7%. Some data for Michigan were missing. Western area was 3.4 off to 84.5%. Utah dropped 4.3 to 73.8%, Washington and Oregon down 3.7 to 84.2% and California down 3.0 to 88.6%. Eastern states eased 0.1 to 92.4%. Pennsylvania was down 3.0 to 91.6% and New York an New Jersey were up 2.2 to 93%. Data for all other also were missing. The U.S. was down 0.4 to 88%.