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Canadian farmers are on track to produce a better crop this year, even as the memory of a punishing drought last year remains fresh in the Prairie provinces.

Early estimates from Statistics Canada suggest crop yields will be higher this harvest because of better growing conditions in Western Canada.

The agency said Wednesday it expects higher production levels for many crops, including canola, barley, soybeans and corn.

Among the most dramatic yield increases will likely be wheat. Nationally, wheat production is projected to increase by 55.6 per cent year-over-year to 34.7 million tonnes in 2022, according to Statistics Canada.

Wheat production in Alberta, which was particularly hard-hit by drought last year, is projected to increase by 80.1 per cent this year to 11.6 million tonnes.

After a late start to seeding due to poor weather, much of the Prairies has received consistent precipitation since June this year.

That’s a sharp contrast from 2021, when a severe drought withered crops in the fields. Western Canadian production of principal field crops fell by more than 40 per cent year-over-year in 2021, and was nearly 37 per cent below the previous five-year average, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada statistics.

For the country as a whole, total 2021 field crop production for Canada was more than 30 per cent lower than in 2020 and 27-per-cent below the previous five-year average.

After flattening out slightly over the summer, grain prices are expected to remain relatively strong in the immediate future due to tight Canadian supplies, more comfortable but still relatively tight global supplies, and expectations for continued strong international demand.