California's almond growers are expected to harvest a record 2.1 billion meat pounds, up 7.7 percent from May's subjective forecast and 4.5 percent from 2013, according to a National Agricultural Statistics Service report.

The estimate is based on 860,000 bearing acres.

Production of nonpareil, the most widely grown variety, is expected to be 800 million meat pounds, down 1 percent from last year.

The objective forecast is based on counting nuts on randomly selected branches in random orchards. The earlier subjective forecast is based on polling growers about what they think their orchards may yield.

Despite earlier concerns that this year's dry conditions and early bloom could affect kernel size, those fears may not prove true.

Average kernel weight for all varieties was 1.45 grams, up 6.6 percent from last year's record low weight of 1.36 grams.

Nonpareil average kernel weight was 1.6 grams, up 8.1 percent from last year.

The nut count was conducted between May 24 and June 18 and involved 1,779 trees in 890 orchards.