Agents at the monthly Yea store cattle sale said restockers were hanging back, despite recent good rainfall.
Tyson Bush, Rodwells, said feedlotters again supported the yarding of about 2800 cattle.
"At the moment it hasn't rained grass, and in many areas, it's probably getting a little bit too cold to get much growth," Mr Bush said.
"Blokes who put a bit of superphosphate out and scratched in a bit of seed have got a bit of pick, but haven't quite got enough yet."
He said many producers around the Yea area had been feeding out hay for months.
"Now is the time the hay needs to go out," he said.
"They know they would have to keep feeding it out for a while yet, so it's a cost factor.
"There's not a lot of confidence to buy back in yet."
He said older, heavier steers were a bit easier, selling from 240-270 cents a kilogram.
"The younger steers sold reasonably well, younger, lighter calves weighing, 250-350kg, sold for anywhere from 280c/kg to three dollars and a bit," he said.
"Cows and calves were very tough for the day, the cattle were showing the conditions of the cold and the season."
Heifers with bloom and shape sold to 260-270c/kg.
"A lot of the competition came from feedlotters, Tasmania bought a couple of pens of cows and calves, Bendigo was active, and there were two or three commission buyers," he said.
Jamie Quinlan, Elders, said the sale was firm on recent markets.
"There was a good line of background steers there, 240-300kg, which sold upwards of 300c/kg," Mr Quinlan said.
"The heavy cattle were a bit patchy, no decent runs of those, but they still made their 270-280c/kg, and once the heifers got quite small, they got a bit cheaper."
He said a backgrounder from the Loddon Valley was active, alongside feedlotters.
"There was a little bit of inquiry from the Yarra Valley to put a few medium weight steers, 300-340kg, out on grass for spring finishing, but mainly it was the feedlotters on the heavier cattle," he said.
"But there was definitely more inquiry from a backgrounder/restocker point of view, it wasn't just feedlotters and nobody."
Murrindindi Station, Murrindindi, sold one pen of 15 Connamara blood, February/March 2018-drop heifers for $690 and a second pen of 16 for $640.
The estate of B Elward, Alexandra, sold 21 Angus steers for $1380, while H Gilmore and Sons sold 14 Charolais-cross steers for $1260.
Barjarg Pastoral sold seven, 16 month-old Angus steers for $1280.
Peter Ingham, The Grange, Murrindindi, sold 18 Paringa blood, September 2017-drop Angus heifers, 428kg, for $1170, or 273c/kg.
Clarendon Park, Yea, sold 19 Anvil Angus blood steers, 375kg, for $860, or 312c/kg.
It also sold a pen of 15 for $900, another pen of 22 for $750 and a third of 21 for $660.
Fort William, Euroa, sold 24 Angus steers, 260kg, for $830, or 319c/kg.
G Woodburn sold 12 Charolais steers, 268kg, for $850, or 317c/kg, and another pen of 11 Angus steers, 295kg, for $820, or 277c/kg.
Inverugie Pastoral, Yea, sold seven, 12 month-old Anvil Angus steers for $1280, while Crystal Creek Farm, Alexandra, sold 17 Anvil Angus heifers for $700.
R & J Dickinson, Narbethong, sold Angus first and second-calvers, with four to five month-old calves at foot, for $1640.
Mr Quinlan said Raelene Mold, Barina, Yea, sold third and fourth-calver Angus cows, with Ashwood Park Charolais calves at foot, for $1520.
"That could have been $300-400 dearer than recent sales," he said.