The Canadian Wheat Board is projecting a better-than-average year for prairie wheat growers.

The board is projecting a western Canadian wheat and durum crop of 23.6 million tonnes for the 2006-2007 crop year, compared to the five-year-average of 20.7 million tonnes. That's a 14 per cent increase.

The projection for barley is 10.5 million tonnes, compared to 10.3 million the previous year.

"This is a promising beginning for the 2006 crop in Western Canada," said the Canadian Wheat Board's Bruce Burnett at an industry briefing. "Conditions are good to excellent in areas where farmers were able to plant a timely fashion."

However, in northeastern Saskatchewan, he said too much moisture has taken more than one million acres out of production.

Internationally, the wheat board is projecting world wheat production levels to decrease to about 601 million tonnes this year. That's compared to about 622 million in 2005-2006.

The Winnipeg-based agency markets wheat and barley for Canadian farmers.