The Canadian Wheat Board announced Monday it has signed a deal to export 500,000 tonnes of wheat to China.

The size of the contract is twice what recent sales have been and is worth $130 million.

tp-wheat-harvest-cp-5187620

The contract with China is the largest deal in five years.

The buyer is COFCO, one of China's largest government food processors.

The board said wheat sales to China can vary from year-to-year, and this agreement is significant because it's the largest such deal in five years.

The agreement runs until the end of 2011.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the deal while in China to commemorate 50 years of Canadian wheat shipments to that country.

Over that time, China has imported more than 120 million tonnes of western Canadian wheat and barley, enough to make 279 billion loaves of bread and 55 billion bottles of beer.

With files from The Canadian Press