Up to two thirds of companies in food processing, farming, chemical processing, government services, education, and half a dozen other industries will experience at least one mission-critical computer system failure caused by the millennium date change, according to a report by IT research firm GartnerGroup Inc. "Many companies have already begun seeing Year 2000 failures, particularly in projection and forecasting systems," says Lou Marcoccio, research director for Y2K at GartnerGroup, Stamford, Conn. Across the board for all industries, the report projects a failure rate of 30% to 50%. One reason for the projected high rate of failures is a lack of planning and preparedness, the report suggests. For instance, Gartner found that even among companies that are implementing Y2K fixes, only half will test the systems before putting them into production. The best prepared industries, according to the research firm, are banking and finance, investment services, and insurance. Globally, countries at the highest risk include Mexico, China, Russia, Argentina, Venezuela, the Philippines, Malaysia, Central Africa, and the Middle East. Germany and Japan are surprisingly ill-prepared, at least a year behind leaders such as the U.S., the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Canada, and Australia.