California pistachio growers expect a record-breaking crop this season.

The state quit issuing pistachio crop reports in 2004, but some industry representatives say the crop could go as high as 400 million pounds in-shell this year. That compares to 238 million pounds in 2006, 283 million pounds in 2004 and 347 million pounds in 2004.

Pistachio trees produce larger crops in alternating years, and orchards in most growing regions of California are in the "on" year of the cycle.

Preseason weather has also encouraged pistachio production and quality.

Observers say harvest may start a few days early, with an average start date of Sept. 1. 

Staining could be a larger problem this year because of the earlier harvest when temperatures are warmer and delays in getting the nuts hulled due to shear volume. Pistachio hulls break down faster during warm weather, and hull breakdown causes staining.

California orchards produce 95 percent of the pistachios grown in the United States.

Iran, which is a direct competitor of California, also is expecting a large pistachio crop of 500 million to 600 million pounds.That means the world pistachio supply could be substantial for the 2007-08 marketing year.