Utah mink ranchers are expecting an outstanding pelt production year for 1988, the state Agriculture Department says.

For this year, 161,000 females were bred, compared to only 137,600 females last year, said statistician DelRoy Gneiting of the department's Utah Agricultural Statistics Service.Mink pelt production last year totaled 535,400. At an average price of $43 per pelt, that equals about $23 million in gross revenues. And, based on the number of additional females bred, the farmers could produce about 625,000 pelts this year.

Utah traditionally ranks third nationally in mink pelt production.