IT IS not unusual for a few shirt-tuggers at Dublin market to whisper little rumours in my ear, but this week there seemed to plague of informants wanting to tell me about a whole raft of things happening - or about to happen - in the livestock industry.
Of course, in most cases these snippets of intelligence turn out to be anything but intelligent, then there are the rare occasions where someone gets the whole thing absolutely 100 per cent right - I did say rarely.
One of these rare occasions came when I was advised confidentially that Elders would reject a bid from Ruralco and set sail on a course independently. This would - from the outside looking in - be a brave move.
If Elders market share of livestock at Dublin is indicative of the national trend, then it has a pile of work to do to reinstate the Elders name to the lofty position it once had. Not so many years ago it was a case of Elders, then the rest.
Diversification is a theory that has not served the former agency giant well, and its rural services division has suffered through some questionable management decisions that the current leadership has battled to overcome - and the future, it seems, is right in their hands.
At this stage I have to score that particular rumour-monger 10 out of 10!
The agency game is rife with rumours of staff movements and defections of prime assets moving from one entity to another. There are many precedents over the years where agents have been poached by an opponent.
Sometimes a company may be looking for a particular skill, such as an ace auctioneer or stud-stock specialist, but there is always the underlying hope that the agent who is persuaded to jump ship will bring a raft of clients with him, and in doing so virtually pay for his own inducements to leave the former employer in the first place.
One relatively new South East agency has had a spectacular growth rate. Its market share has skyrocketed it into a very prominent position, and it has been astute in the manner that it has expanded the business outside its initial spheres of influence.
It has cleverly incorporated a satellite business in the Upper South East and - if rumour has it right - is in the process of flexing its considerable muscle further north with the imminent appointment of two new agents in the Lower North and Mid North.
As much as I may like to, I will not mention names, suffice to say that there will be a few surprised people around the countryside.
The same firm is believed to have also acquired the services of a young gun auctioneer and hot operator to enhance its already thriving SE enterprise. I am told that this is a major strategic move that will rock the foundations of one established agency.
This rumour has yet to be confirmed but is gaining considerable traction around the traps.
The final rumour of the week is probably the most questionable. It involves a certain independent agent who is supposedly seeking to spread his wings into an office and agency at Broken Hill.
The bloke in question already does a considerable amount of business in the area, but it is difficult to see this individual relinquishing control to a manager after being a one-man-band for so long, plus the fact that he is certainly of an age where slowing-down would be the preferred option to exploring new frontiers and the accompanying stress.
So if you are at a market, feel free to tell me the latest rumours - if nothing else they are generally good for a laugh.