PARIS (Reuters) -French farmers had harvested 14% of this year's soft wheat crop by July 4 against 5% a week earlier, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday.
The harvest progress compared with just 1% a year ago, reflecting an early start to field work this year after hot, dry weather in late spring.
The French harvest is expected to bring contrasting results, with poor yields in the south but much better volumes in the north where recent showers have taken the edge off drought.
An estimated 63% of soft wheat was in good or excellent condition, down slightly from 64% the previous week, FranceAgriMer said in a cereal crop report.
Winter barley harvesting had reached its latter stages, with 83% of the crop gathered by Monday against 43% a week earlier and just 9% a year ago, the office's report showed.
The winter barley harvest was running 15 days ahead of last year's pace and four days ahead of the average progress of the past five years, FranceAgriMer said.
Durum wheat harvesting was 50% complete while 14% of the spring barley crop had been cut.
Mostly warm, dry weather this week followed by very hot conditions forecast for next week are expected to keep field work brisk.
Traders are watching to see if high temperatures next week stress some maize (corn) crops, which are entering the crucial pollination phase.
An estimated 84% of maize was rated good or excellent by Monday, up slightly from 83% the previous week and compared with 89% a year earlier.
(Reporting by Forrest Crellin and Gus Trompiz)