The U.S. Department of Agriculture pegs the California almond crop at 1.65 billion meat pounds, which is 17 percent more than last year's crop.


The objective estimate is based on counting nuts on selected branches in representative orchards.


The estimate is 8 percent more than May's subjective forecast, which is based on asking growers over the phone to rate their crop.


This year's forecast for nonpareil, the most widely grown variety, is 640 million meat pounds, or 18 percent more than last year's.


In a news release, the National Agricultural Statistics Service attributed the larger crop to a better nut set and heavier individual kernels than last year.


This year's large crop come despite variable spring weather that grounded some bees.


Nevertheless, the mix of varieties provided good pollen overlap.