WASHINGTON — Flour production statistics interpolated by Milling & Baking News and based on data compiled by the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) point to a number of historical highs. The new records include output for the second quarter (April-June), the first half (January-June) as well as crop year production for the 12-month July 2012-June 2013 period that eclipses the calendar year record.
NAMA placed flour production in April-June at 99,759,000 cwts, up 2.6% from 97,247,000 in the same quarter of 2012. In the same report, 24-hour capacity of U.S. mills, also reflecting most U.S. mills, stood at 1,473,141 cwts, up 1.1% from 1,457,026 a year back.
Flour milling data are compiled for NAMA by Veris Consulting, Inc.
Milling & Baking News assumes that the mills providing data to NAMA represent 95.1% of total U.S. capacity, down from 95.4% in the last half of 2011 and 2012 or since the end of Census compilations at mid-year 2011. In order to compare the NAMA numbers with past Census statistics, NAMA numbers were divided by .951 for 2013 and .954 earlier.
The interpolation resulted in a U.S. flour milling estimate for April-June 2013 at a record 104,899,000 cwts, up 2.9% from 101,936,000 a year ago. It also was up 1.9% over 102,932,000 cwts in January-March. Output in the first half of 2013, or January-June, also set a record at 207,831,000 cwts, an increase of 1.2% over 205,398,000 in the first half of 2012.
In order to judge better the overall pace of flour milling at present, Milling & Baking News computed the aggregate of the past four quarters July-June at a historical high of 422,797,000 cwts, topping January-December 2000, the established annual peak, at 421,270,000, by a small margin. The comparison would suggest that flour production in 2013 may be on pace to establish a new calendar year high.
Flour mills operated at 87.9% of six-day capacity in April-June, down from 88.4% in the first quarter but up from 86.7% in the second quarter of 2012. For the six-day week, April-June had 77 days, compared with 76 in the year’s first quarter and 77 a year ago.
Mills in the first half ran at 88.2% of six-day capacity, up from 87.5% a year earlier.