WASHINGTON — Production of whole wheat flour in April-May 2017 totaled 5,327,000 cwts, up 3% from 5,186,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2016 according to data issued Aug. 2 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Production of 5,327,000 cwts in the second quarter was down 8% from 5,800,000 cwts in the first quarter of 2017. Second quarter production also was 3% smaller than 5,513,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2015.
Still, the quarter was the second in a row in which whole wheat production was higher than the year earlier period, suggesting stabilization following a year of steady declines in 2016. Production was down in each quarter of 2016 versus the year before, with decreases ranging from 4% to 10%.
Whole wheat production in the second quarter equated to 5.1% of all wheat flour production, totaling 104,403,000 cwts. The share accounted for by whole wheat flour production was up from 5% in the second quarter of 2016 but down from 5.5% in the first quarter of 2017.
Year-to-date 2017 whole wheat flour production was 11,127,000 cwts, up 4% from 10,701,000 cwts in January-June 2016.
Production of whole wheat semolina in April-June 2017 was 108,000 cwts, down 33% from 162,000 cwts in the second quarter of 2016 and was the smallest quarter on record by a significant margin. Since NASS began issuing data on whole wheat semolina, production had ranged from a low of 155,000 cwts to a high of 407,000. At 108,000 cwts, whole wheat semolina accounted for only 1.4% of total semolina production, which totaled 7,527,000 cwts in the quarter.Excluding semolina, whole wheat flour production in the second quarter was 5,219,000 cwts, up 4% from 5,024,000 cwts in the second quarter last year. Whole wheat flour’s share of total flour production, ex-semolina, was 5.4%, up from 5.2% in the second quarter last year.