WASHINGTON — Production of whole wheat flour in the third quarter of 2020 was 4,908,000 cwts, down 605,000 cwts, or 11%, from 5,513,000 cwts in July-September 2019, according to data issued Nov. 2 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Department of Agriculture.

Third-quarter flour production was up 10% from 4,471,000 cwts in the second quarter, the lowest whole wheat flour production quarter on record (since USDA began tallying data). Still, production in the third quarter was the smallest for any July-September on record and the only third quarter whole wheat production total below 5 million cwts, dating back to 2014.

At 4,908,000 cwts, whole wheat flour production in the third quarter accounted for 4.5% of all US wheat flour production, up from 4.4% in the second quarter but down from 5.2% in the third quarter of 2019.

Year-to-date whole wheat flour production was 15,268,000 cwts, down 1,014,000 cwts, or 6% from 16,282,000 cwts in the first three quarters of 2019. Year-to-date whole wheat flour production equated to 4.8% of total US flour production.

The trailing 12-month total for whole wheat flour production was 21,225,000 cwts, down 2.7% from 21,813,000 cwts in October 2018-September 2019. At 21,225,000 cwts, the trailing 12-month total was the lowest on record.

Whole wheat semolina production in July-September was 134,000 cwts, down 66,000 cwts, or 33%, from 160,000 cwts in the third quarter last year. Production was down 30,000 cwts from the second quarter. In the first three quarters of 2019, whole wheat semolina production was 469,000 cwts, down 3.1% from 484,000 cwts in the same period last year. Whole wheat semolina accounted for 1.6% of all semolina produced in the third quarter, down from 2.7% a year earlier and from 1.8% in the second quarter. It was the lowest share for whole wheat semolina since 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Third-quarter whole wheat flour production ex-semolina was 4,774,000 cwts, down 539,000 cwts, or 10%, from 5,313,000 cwts the year before. Production was up 11% from 4,307,000 cwts in the second quarter. Year to date, whole wheat flour ex-semolina was 14,799,000 cwts, down 6% from 15,798,000 cwts in the first nine months of 2018.