WASHINGTON – Flour production in July-September was 108,223,000 cwts, off 169,000 cwts, or 0.2%, from 108,392,000 a year ago, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Third-quarter production was 2.8% over 105,304,000 cwts in the second quarter. The record high for the third quarter was 109,017,000 cwts in 2007, and the largest flour production quarter ever was 110,332,000 in October-December 2013.

For the first three quarters of 2018, flour production totaled a record 319,139,000 cwts, up 0.5% over 317,565,000 a year ago, the second highest total.

NASS data are now available for 17 consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when NASS took over from the North American Millers’ Association.

The year-to-date production figure was 0.8% larger than the third largest nine-month aggregate, at 316,574,000 cwts in 2014, followed by 316,099,000 in 2015; the 2016 total was fifth at 315,623,000.

U.S. 24-hour capacity in July-September was at the high of 1,643,000 cwts, unchanged from the second quarter and up from 1,620,000 a year back.

Flour mill operating rate in July-September was 86.7%, up from 83.3% in the second quarter but off from 86.9% a year ago.

Wheat grind in the third quarter was 232,908,000 bus, off 0.6% from 234,279,000 a year ago; it was up 2.8% over 226,627,000 bus in the second.

Millfeed output in July-September totaled 1,627,944 tons, off 0.8% from 1,641,303 a year back. Millfeed production rose 2.1% from 1,594,864 in April-June.

Semolina production in July-September totaled 7,877,000 cwts up 1.1% from 7,788,000 in the third quarter of last year; it was 3.4% over 7,618,000 in April-June. January-September semolina production totaled 23,651,000 cwts, up 1% over 23,410,000 a year earlier and the highest three-quarter number since the start of NASS data.

Rye flour production during the third quarter of 2018 was 211,000 cwts against 225,000 in the second and 206,000 a year ago.