WASHINGTON — Production of whole wheat flour in April-June was 5,271,000 cwts, down 115,000 cwts, or 2.1%, from 5,386,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2018, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Whole wheat flour production was up 9% from the first quarter of this year.
Whole wheat flour production has decreased in four consecutive quarters and in five of the last six.
January-June production of whole wheat flour was 10,126,000 cwts, down 971,000 cwts, or 9%, from 11,097,000 cwts in the first half of last year. Whole wheat flour production totaled 11,150,000 cwts in the first half of 2017 and 10,701,000 cwts in the first half of 2016.
Whole wheat flour accounted for 5.1% of U.S. flour production in the second quarter, up from 4.7% in the first quarter and unchanged from the 5.1% share in the second quarter last year. On a year-to-date basis, whole wheat flour accounted for 4.9% of U.S. flour production, down from 5.3% in the first half of 2018.
The trailing four-quarter whole wheat flour production total fell to a new low dating back to when the U.S.D.A. began tracking whole wheat flour production. At 21,372,000 cwts, the trailing four-quarter total was down from 21,487,000 cwts in the period ended March 2019 and was down 11% from the peak of 24,115,000 cwts in calendar year 2015.
Whole wheat semolina production was 134,000 cwts in the second quarter, up 4,000 cwts, or 3.1%, from 130,000 cwts in the second quarter a year ago. Production was down from 150,000 cwts in the first quarter. Whole wheat semolina accounted for 1.8% of semolina production during the quarter, versus 1.7% a year earlier.
Year-to-date whole wheat semolina production was 284,000 cwts, down 8% from 309,000 cwts in January-June 2018.
Whole wheat flour ex-semolina production in the second quarter was 5,137,000 cwts, down 119,000 cwts, or 2.3%, from 5,256,000 cwts in April-June 2018. Whole wheat flour ex-semolina accounted for 5.3% of U.S. flour production ex-semolina, down from 5.4% in the second quarter of 2018.
Year to date, whole wheat flour ex-semolina production was 9,842,000 cwts, down 9% from 10,788,000 cwts in the first half last year.