WASHINGTON — Production of whole wheat flour in January-March 2018 totaled 5,711,000 cwts, down 89,000 cwts, or 1.5%, from the first quarter of 2017, according to figures published May 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
First-quarter production was larger than 5,515,000 cwts of whole wheat flour milled in the first quarter of 2016 but was smaller than 6,122,000 cwts in 2015.
Whole wheat flour production was slightly smaller than 5,737,000 cwts in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Whole wheat accounted for 5.4% of all U.S. flour production in the first quarter. For the last five quarters, whole wheat’s share of U.S. flour production has held within a range of 5.1% to 5.5%.
Whole wheat semolina production in the first quarter was 179,000 cwts, up 13,000 cwts, or 7.8%, from 166,000 cwts in the same period last year. Whole wheat semolina production was up sharply – 47% -- from 122,000 cwts in the fourth quarter last year but fell shy of 194,000 cwts in the third quarter last year.
Whole wheat semolina accounted for 2.2% of semolina production in the first quarter, a small increase from 2.1% in the same period of 2017.Whole wheat flour production excluding semolina was 5,532,000 cwts in the first quarter, down 1.8% from 5,634,000 cwts in the first quarter of 2017. The share of whole wheat flour, ex-semolina, in the first quarter was 5.7%, up from 5.6% in the same period a year earlier.