Y2k bug to blight the countryside

Farmers told to take action or else, ooh aar

The Millennium bug yesterday singled out its next victim -– our agricultural community. Yes, farmers may have to stay sober this New Year's Eve to cope with the threat of Y2k. The bug could see already hard pressed farmers milking cows and feeding chickens by hand. This unusual sector of the technology industry doesn't often make the IT press, but the Daily Telegraph today highlighted the dangers involved. The latest blow to farmers came when the government claimed they were not taking the flesh-eating millennium bug seriously and were consequently endangering the country’s food supplies. As if farmers didn't have enough to worry about, what with the price of fertiliser these days, but their animals may go unmilked and unfed and fruit and vegetables go off if computer run machines are not protected. Milking machines, feeding systems and cold stores are often now run on automatic machinery. Battery hen houses and pig rearing units could find ventilation and feeding systems disrupted. In addition there may not be enough manpower to do the work by hand, what with all those 1 January pounding heads, defunct cash machines and public transport up the chute. Lord Donoughue, the farming industry minister, said: "This is an issue which the whole industry needs to take seriously. Some people are already working to beat the problem but it is vital that everyone takes action now." The Daily Telegraph tracked down a Hampshire broiler farm owner, William McKenzie. "We are taking no chances. Both my brother and I will be stone cold sober on the night of the Millennium just in case something goes wrong," he said. Naturally, Team Register will be also be staying sober so that we can fill our site with stories about the Y2k bug bringing IT systems to their knees. ®

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