Canadian farmers are expecting to plant the largest wheat crop in more than two decades this year amid strong demand for wheat.

Statistics Canada said Wednesday that farmers anticipate planting 23 million acres of wheat, up 6.2 per cent from the previous year.

According to the federal agency's report on principal field crop areas, the anticipated growth is possibly due to favourable prices and strong demand for wheat.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago drove up global wheat prices, as Ukraine has been one of the world's largest wheat exporters. 

Prices have since declined significantly from last year's double-digit highs but remain relatively strong from a historical perspective. 

Chicago benchmark wheat futures were trading for around US$6.49 per bushel midday Wednesday. 

The war in Ukraine is just one of several curveballs Canadian farmers were thrown last year.

These challenges included inflationary pressures on things like fertilizer and fuel, as well as higher interest rates. 

Farmers have also been facing more extreme weather over the past decade, including a severe drought in 2021. 

Statistics Canada said farmers are also planning to plant more canola, corn for grain, barley and soybeans in 2023 compared with last year, while oats, lentils and dry peas are expected to decrease. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2023.