Select grade beef has an important past in the cattle and beef business. However, its tonnage is shrinking and will continue to trend lower in the coming decade, based on collaborative research conducted across all beef industry segments. 

 Anipro/Xtraformance Feeds, Top Dollar Angus and the Red Angus Association of America have joined forces to analyze the current and future role of Select grade beef in the U.S. beef supply chain through the release of an industry-focused white paper, “Phasing Out Select Grade Beef.”

 A product that was once a major portion of domestic beef production, accounting for 40 percent of all graded product a mere 10 years ago, Select grade beef is now fading into the background as producers and feeders respond appropriately to market signals encouraging increased levels of marbling. Genetic improvements, grid marketing, changes in feeding practices and the growth of quality-based branded beef programs have drastically reduced the need for this once staple beef product in grocery stores and restaurants. 

 “The trend is well established with Select beef output being more than cut in half from 2007 to 2017,” said Tom Brink, CEO of the RAAA. “And there is no reason to expect anything but continued shrinkage going forward. Through the Choice-Select price spread, the market continues to communicate that it wants more highly marbled beef. Producers in all segments are paying close attention to this economic signal and are on a path toward the practical elimination of Select beef in the coming decade.”

 “Phasing Out Select Grade Beef,” available exclusively at RedAngus.org, examines key trends in Select grade beef production and consumption over the past 25 years, supported with objective observations and data from industry stakeholders, meat science academics and beef packing representatives. Projections as to the future of Select grade beef and its waning value are also provided.

 The authors recognize the importance of moving the industry forward, thus a white paper on this consequential subject can offer valuable perspective concerning how seedstock producers, commercial cow-calf operators, cattle feeders and food service companies should plan their business practices in the coming years. “Phasing Out Select Grade Beef” can be downloaded from RedAngus.org, free of charge. Questions or interview requests should be directed to Brandi Buzzard Frobose, RAAA director of communications, at brandi@redangus.org.