I heard on the grapevine that Boortmalt, now the world’s largest maltster, may be set to sell two of its properties here in Ireland.

Boortmalt, which has a malting plant in Athy, seems to be looking for another grain assembler or assemblers to take over the branches.

This is in keeping with its trend of outsourcing malting barley from private grain merchants, as it does in some regions already. If the trend continues, it is unclear how this will affect the annual price negotiations with the IFA.

It’s worth noting that Greencore received a grant of almost €1m in 2005 to double the capacity of its New Ross (Strokestown) intake.

If I remember correctly, it was one of the biggest grants given out under the Department’s Capital Investment Scheme in that year. Five years later in 2010, Greencore sold its malting business to Axereal, the French farmers’ co-op which owns Boortmalt.