It was supposed to happen maybe next year or the year following. However, it happened on Dec. 31, 2002 when handlers announced they had received 1.043 billion pounds of almonds from the 2002 crop, 6.4 percent more than the objective measurement predicted in June.

And there’s still about 1.5 percent of the crop yet to come in.

The 1 billion pounds shattered the old crop record of 830 million pounds set during the 1999-00-crop year.

While crop size is a record, shipments are following the same line. Growers can expect good final returns from this crop because of shipment months like last December. International exports surged 30 percent over the same month last year, shipping 65 million pounds. Shipments within the United States also experienced a healthy increase of 17 percent versus the same month last year, moving 23 million pounds in the month of December.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com