The year began with wheat prices moving sharply upwards. The world was running out of grain, demand was overwhelming supply, and optimism – at least in this part of the country – spread like listeria on soft cheese. By May the price of wheat touched £130 per tonne and it was clear that it could only move in one direction; upwards. The price of land – which, for some strange reason, inevitably reflects the wheat price – sailed through the £3000 per acre barrier, and for the first time in almost two decades, there was a waiting list for certain tractors. Even the gloomiest arable farmer (and I have yet to meet one who does come into this category) had to admit that the future rarely seemed brighter.