WASHINGTON — Production of whole wheat flour in the second quarter of 2022 totaled 4,536,000 cwts, down 330,000 cwts, or 7%, from 4,866,000 cwts in the same period in 2021, according to data issued Aug. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Department of Agriculture.
At 4,536,000 cwts, second quarter production exceeded outturn of 4,471,000 cwts in the peak COVID-19 quarter of 2020 but fell well shy of 5,271,000 cwts in 2019, 5,386,000 cwts in 2018 and 5,350,000 cwts in 2017.
Whole wheat flour production accounted for 4.2% of total US flour production in the second quarter (107,407,000 cwts), which compared with 4.7% a year earlier and 4.9% in the first quarter of 2021. At 4.2%, the share of total flour production represented by whole wheat flour was the smallest of any quarter in the eight years NASS has been gathering US flour production data. The previous low was 4.4%, in the second quarter of 2020. The peak was 5.9%, reached most recently in 2015, in two separate quarters.
The April-June decrease largely erased a first-quarter jump, and year-to-date whole wheat flour production was 9,786,000, up 60,000 cwts, or 0.6%, from the first half of 2021. The six-month total fell well shy of 10,361,000 cwts in 2020 and 10,769,000 cwts in 2019.
Year to date, whole wheat flour production accounted for 4.5% of total US flour production, down from 4.6% a year earlier.
Whole wheat semolina production in the second quarter was 84,000 cwts, down 63,000 cwts, or 43%, from 147,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2021. Production in the first quarter of 2022 was 95,000 cwts. Year-to-date whole wheat semolina production was 179,000 cwts, down 38% from 290,000 cwts in January-June 2021.
Production of whole wheat flour ex-semolina in April-June was 4,452,000 cwts, down 267,000 cwts, or 6%, from 4,719,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2021. January-March 2022 production was 5,155,000 cwts. Except for the second quarter of 2020 (4,307,000 cwts) second-quarter production of whole wheat flour ex-semolina was the smallest of any quarter since the USDA began tracking flour production eight years ago. Before 2020, the figure never fell short of 5 million cwts.In the six months ended June 30, production of whole wheat flour ex-semolina was 9,607,000 cwts, up 1.8% from 9,436,000 cwts in 2021 and 10,026,000 cwts in 2020.