WASHINGTON — After rising in the second quarter, flour production in July-September 2021 slumped to 106,161,000 cwts, down 2,422,000, or 2.2%, from 108,583,000 a year ago, according to data issued Nov. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Department of Agriculture. Production for the third quarter was the smallest since NASS began gathering flour data in 2014. It was the smallest of any third quarter figures since 105,410,000 in 2011 when the North American Millers’ Association helped gather the data and since 104,859,000 in 2006 under the US Bureau of the Census.
Production during the quarter was up 2,841,000, or 2.7%, from 103,320,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2021. In the second quarter this year, flour production was 103,320,000 cwts, up 1,270,000 cwts, or 1.2%, from April-June 2020.
The record high for third-quarter flour production was 109,017,000 cwts in 2007, and the largest flour production quarter ever was 110,332,000 in October-December 2013.
January-September flour production totaled 313,116,000 cwts, a decrease of 5,694,000 cwts, or 1.8%, from 318,810,000 in the first three quarters of 2020, the smallest for January-September since 305,747,000 in 2011. The peak for the three quarters was 319,153,000 cwts in 2018.
NASS data are now available for 29 consecutive quarters, or since July-September 2014, when NASS took over from the North American Millers’ Association.
US 24-hour capacity in July-September was 1,585,762 cwts, unchanged from the second quarter and down 21,648 from 1,607,410 a year back.
Flour mill operating rate in July-September was 86.9%, up from 84.6% in the second quarter and down from 87.7% a year ago.
Wheat grind in the third quarter was 230,807,000 bus, down 3,383,000, or 1.4%, from 234,190,000 a year ago; it was up 3.4% over 223,289,000 bus in the second.
Millfeed output in July-September totaled 1,683,426 tons, up 0.3% from 1,678,897 a year back. Millfeed production rose 3.4% from 1,585,762 in April-June.
Semolina production in July-September totaled 7,305,000, down 12% from 8,304,000 in the third quarter of last year; it was up 0.8% from 7,247,000 in April-June. January-September semolina production totaled 22,638,000 cwts, down 11.6% from a record 25,599,000 a year earlier. Output in the same three quarters of 2019 was 23,028,000 and in 2018 was 23,651,000 cwts.
Rye flour production during the third quarter of 2021 was 193,000 against 201,000 in the second quarter and 210,000 a year ago.