Second-quarter flour output at 8-year high

by Neil Sosland
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WASHINGTON — Flour production by U.S. mills in April-June 2007 rose to 102,089,000 cwts, up 5,036,000, or 5.2%, from 97,053,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2006. It was the second-largest output for April-June on record, topped only by the second quarter of 1999, at 103,463,000. It exceeded April-June 2000 at 101,649,000 cwts. This was only the third time on record when second-quarter production exceeded 100 million cwts. The 5.2% increase from a year ago was the widest year-to-year quarterly increase since January-March 2000 when output also was up 5.2%. The 24-hour capacity of U.S. mills in April-June was 1,527,000 cwts, up from 1,499,000 a year back. Mills in April-June operated at 86.8% of six-day capacity, up from 84.1% in the second quarter of 2006. Output in the first six months of 2007 aggregated 201,885,000 cwts, up 3.8% from 194,532,000 in the first half of 2006. This was the largest first-half output in seven years, or since the record 202,759,000 in 2000. Wheat ground for flour in April-June 2007 totaled 225,824,000 bus, up 4.9% from 215,181,000 in the second quarter last year. Millfeed output in the second quarter aggregated 1,747,125 tons, up 4.8% from 1,667,358 a year back.

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