Wheat crops in Western Europe have coped relatively well with dry and sweltering conditions in the past month, keeping the region on course for a large harvest, analysts said.

In the European Union's top wheat producer France, where harvesting is in full flow, results so far indicated decent yields, albeit shy of very high potential during spring.

There was still the risk of damage to later-maturing wheat in the far north of France and in Germany, but recent rain had eased crop stress in Britain, the EU's No. 3 wheat producer.

"Spring crops have been way more affected than soft wheat," Jean-Sebastien Jacquet, analyst with Strategie Grains, said.

"As physiological maturity has been reached in many regions, the (wheat) production level is still satisfying," he said.

Market concerns about weather are increasingly focused on spring-planted maize (corn), and less on wheat, which is mostly a winter crop in the EU.

Strategie Grains, a consultancy, on Thursday lowered its EU soft wheat forecast for the second month in a row, shaving off 700,000 tonnes to put the crop at 140.9 million tonnes.

That was close to the EU's official forecast of 140 million tonnes, which would be down from a record 149 million in 2014 but still one of the biggest-ever EU crops.

In France, harvesting was starting north of Paris and the market was waiting to see if the weather impact would be more severe there.

Some 38 percent of the crop had been cut by July 13, with field work just under way in Picardy, France's top wheat-growing region last year, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday, as hot and dry weather favoured a rapid harvest.

Traders and analysts reported good yields.

Consultancy ODA Group, which has been at the low end of trade estimates, said it increased its outlook this week by 300,000 tonnes to 36.7 million to reflect decent harvest yields.

It said quality indications were mostly positive, marking a recovery from last year's rain-affected results, with the notable exception of some disappointing protein readings.

Traders cited protein between 10.5 and 11.2 percent for much of the crop so far, which could force grain handlers to sort wheat to meet an 11 percent minimum often applied by millers.

In Britain, wheat has benefited in some areas from recent rains, analyst Jack Watts of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said.

Watts said estimates for this year's UK wheat crop ranged from around 15.0 to 15.5 million tonnes, down on last season's 16.6 million but above the five-year average of 14.4 million.

The first wheat crops in Britain are normally cut before the end of July, but the bulk of the harvest is gathered in August and the first half of September.