Beef feeders can look for continued payment of quality-grid premiums from packing plants, said a University of Missouri Extension economist.

“This only happens because they really need quality cattle,” said Scott Brown, an agricultural economist who follows the beef markets. “With high demand and short supplies of quality beef, packers are more willing to share.”

Brown’s advice for beef farmers seeking to capture quality-grid premiums: “Shoot for prime. That’s where the money is. Don’t stop at choice grade.

“Choice-select spreads are attractive at times, but prime premiums are more consistent over time,” Brown continued. “Now, prime premiums are increasing faster.