A judge has struck down the federal government's move to strip the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly on western barley sales.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Federal Court Judge Dolores Hansen said the government overstepped its authority in trying to end the monopoly through a simple cabinet order.

The decision is a victory for supporters of the wheat board, who argue that having all barley sales handled through the board gives farmers better prices.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government announced earlier this year it would end the board's monopoly on barley as of Aug. 1, and give farmers the option of selling independently.

The government changed the board's barley-handling through regulations approved by the Conservative cabinet.

Critics successfully argued the change can only be made by passing a law in Parliament — something thatcouldbe blocked by the opposition.