WASHINGTON — Flour production in July-September was 108,223,000 cwts, down 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% higher than 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 cwts 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 cwts 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 cwts in 2015; the 2016 total was fifth at 315,623,000 cwts.
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 cwts a year back.
Flour mill operating rate in July-September was 86.7%, up from 83.3% in the second quarter but down from 86.9% a year ago.
Wheat grind in the third quarter was 232,908,000 bus, down 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, down 0.8% from 1,641,303 tons a year back. Millfeed production rose 2.1% from 1,594,864 tons in April-June.
Semolina production in July-September totaled 7,877,000 cwts, up 1.1% from 7,788,000 cwts in the third quarter of last year; it was 3.4% over 7,618,000 cwts in April-June. January-September semolina production totaled 23,651,000 cwts, up 1% over 23,410,000 cwts 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.