Highland Specialty Grains Acquires WestBred Barley Varieties


WALLA WALLA, WA – Today, a newly-minted barley genetics company called Highland Specialty Grains announced their acquisition of the Barley germplasm assets from WestBred®, a unit of Monsanto Company.

“We believe in the future of Barley and we’re incredibly excited to be able to serve the industry with such a powerhouse of  barley germplasm,” said Marketing Director Bryce McKay. “WestBred has built a name for outstanding varieties and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to continue that tradition.”

Purchased barley varieties include, among many others,  Champion–a hugely popular feed variety in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, Stockford – a forage barley that has been serving the needs of dairy producers–and food barleys like BG-006 and BG-012.

Highland representatives cited their small, specialized company as a strength. “We’re one of the only companies in the world that is breeding barley exclusively right now. Since we’re not working on other, larger cash crops, we get to pour our passion into one single crop: barley,” said McKay.

The top priorities for Highland include improving their already powerful arsenal of feed barleys, breeding a higher-yielding food barley to compete with feed/forage varieties, and more broadly adapting their breeding program across the Western United States. “Again, because we’re zeroed in on barley, we can maintain our presence throughout the barley growing regions of the Western United States and Canada.”

Highland Specialty Grains is a family venture founded by Dan W. McKay, Don Sloan, Bryce McKay, and Mike McKay in 2013.