BEEF producers who have been told to keep hold of their stock by their usual abattoir have been urged to try an auction mart instead.
The message has been issued by the National Beef Association (NBA) and the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA).
Chris Dodds, LAA executive secretary, said: "Some of the big abattoirs are claiming to be full and asking farmers to hold back their finished cattle.
"Our message to them is to try their local auction mart. We're open for business and have plenty of room to sell prime beef animals and help farmers get a fair price."
Holding finished cattle back, even by just a month, can have significant cost and cash flow implications for producers who have to continue to feed and manage them.
Chris Mallon, NBA national director, said: "I've heard of people being told in April that they have to wait until late May or even June before bringing their cattle to the abattoir. That's crazy.
"The auction mart offers a better option for beef producers right now, but they should also use marts in the future.
"For store cattle there's no realistic alternative to the auction mart if you want to get a good price. But I would encourage beef producers to consider auction marts for finished cattle too especially if they are being told to hold their cattle back."
Apart from avoiding extra costs, he said producers would also receive the true market price.
Mr Mallon said: "For the 30 seconds your cattle are in the ring, the auctioneer is working solely for you. All they want is to get you the best price possible for your livestock.
"That's how they earn their wages. You simply don't get that when you're dealing with a procurement manager at an abattoir. Their priority is getting the price down as low as possible."