Excellent growing conditions have set in motion what should be an outstanding production year, domestic pistachio grower-shippers said.

The crop is forecast to exceed 425 million pounds, a whopping jump of 63% over last year’s 260 million pounds, said Rich Matoian, executive director of the Fresno, Calif.-based Western Pistachio Association. The large volume was not unexpected.

“It’s the cyclical nature of pistachios.” he said. “A large crop usually follows a smaller crop, and then another large crop.”

Some of the increase is due to young orchards coming into production, but Matoian said those new bearing orchards represent a small percentage of the volume.

The bumper pistachio crop will not lead to a market glut, nor will it soften prices. Continued strong consumer demand, spurred in part by recent revelations of the nuts’ nutritional benefits, has pushed wholesale prices to near record highs, Matoian said.

Among the top priorities for the U.S. pistachio industry is to strengthen its nearly decade-old food safety program.