KANSAS CITY — The final estimated yield for the Kansas 2012 hard red winter wheat crop was a record 49.1 bus an acre, up almost 3 bus from the previous record forecast in 2005, the Wheat Quality Council said.

On the basis of the average of 59 estimates offered by observers on the tour, the 2012 Kansas wheat crop was forecast at 403.9 million bus, the W.Q.C. said. This compared with 276.5 million bus as the 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture total.

Results for per-bushel yields in 2012 were sharply higher than those from last year’s wheat tour, when participants gave an average estimate of 37.4 bus an acre, and were well above the final 2011 U.S.D.A. estimate of 35 bus an acre.

The largest-ever group of crop scouts, about 100 individuals from the United States and several foreign countries, ended their three-day tour of wheat fields in the early afternoon today. They made a total of 608 stops during the tour, also the most ever.

Many participants predicted harvest would begin in three to five weeks, several weeks earlier than normal.

Tour members said fields from Wichita and to Kansas City, the final leg of the tour, were generally in good shape, although some tour members saw aphids and several types of disease.

Wheat tour participants noted a wide range of estimated yields in individual fields, from a low of 8 bus an acre to occasional estimates in excess of 100 bus an acre.

Wednesday, crop scouts reduced their second-day estimates to 43.7 bus an acre, down from 53.6 bus on the first day of the tour Tuesday, the Kansas City Board of Trade said.

Wheat futures prices swooned Wednesday on the crop tour’s forecast for much-higher new-crop yields, with May wheat futures at the K.C.B.T. down 27¼c to $6.18¼ a bu.

Thursday, wheat futures on the K.C.B.T. ended modestly higher on short-covering.