Kevin Littleboy

4 February 2000

Kevin Littleboy

Kevin Littleboy

Kevin Littleboy farms 243ha

(600 acres) as Howe

Estates at Howe, Thirsk, N

Yorks. The medium sandy

loam in the Vale of York

supports potatoes, winter

wheat, rape and barley, plus

grass for sheep

ON Christmas Eve, I was amazed to find I could book and pay for a holiday for under half price on the Internet. For just over £600 I flew half way around the world to a four star hotel in 80 degrees of sunshine for the millennium. I could have flown to New Zealand for £50, but I chickened out of flying on Dec 31 as I wasnt born with wings or flippers.

Whilst the Y2K bug didnt materialise for most, it certainly did for two extremely well known and prominent Yorkshire farmers who went to France for the millennium, and ended up with no electricity or water. The devil in me says serves you right for going across the Channel but at least Yorkshire Water shares shot up on their return.

Having sold grain over the years using a multitude of different schemes and options, rather than the so called spot price market, I believe this year has shown the benefit of using managed funds. My "caring, sharing" merchant achieved £99.05/t for the managed short fund. Thank you Thorpe Arch trading room, I only wish I had agreed to a bigger tonnage.

Most grain companies run one form or another of these schemes now, but they vary considerably in their successes and administrative costs. It would be interesting to see how companies from one end of the country to the other performed this year. As the government is so fixated by performance league tables I will take a leaf out of their book and ask you to e-mail me at with your schemes results, and what is on offer to you this year? Everything will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Compulsory reading for all farmers and especially consultants is the long awaited European Commission report from the Directorate-General for Agriculture on the Prospects for Agricultural Markets 1999 to 2006. It can be found at their easily accessible website, http://europa but I warn you it is 128 pages long.

Hmmm….No grain pool performance tables in here. Perhaps growers would like to e-mail their results to me, says

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