Agents say prices lifted by about $100 a head, at the fortnightly Pakenham store sale, as confidence flows back into the market.
Agents yarded about 1823 head of steers and heifers and 74 x 61 cows and calves.
Dan Cameron, SEJ Livestock Pakenham, said the market gained around $100 a head for both smaller and heavier feeder cattle.
"Maybe they were $120 dearer, in places - it was very strong, there was a lot of competition," Mr Cameron said.
Mr Cameron said prices improved, as the sale went on.
"Those little, well-bred Angus steers and heifers, on a fortnight ago, could have been $150 a head dearer."
He said buyers were returning to the market, anticipating higher prices, by September.
"The turnover rate is pretty good, so it was a good market."
Rain in late winter could see prices rise to the levels of 18 months ago.
"When we were at the peak we were knocking on $4/kg, we could get to that in August and September," he said.
Restockers, who couldn't compete on the bigger steers, were now chasing lighter stock.
Jarrod Bennetts, of Everitt, Seeley & Bennetts, said there was an increase in cents per kilogram, demand was definitely higher and little cattle "have jumped as well.
"There are a few factors," Mr Bennetts said.
'We have obviously got the end of financial year, which would have some effect.
"We have had 10-12 days of sunshine, grass is actually growing down in the west and south Gippsland - even though there has been a frost - and the fat market has got dearer and it's dragging this along, with it."
There was strong feedlot competition on the heavier, well-bred cattle.
"They are more than happy to participate on anything over 380kg," he said.
"There was a real depth of buying support, not just one or two, there were three or four buyers, on every pen."
Among the active feedlot bidders were Tey's Charlton, Jalna, Hopkins River and Cohuna.
Westside Meats also bid on some pens.
"People are taking a punt cattle are going to be dearer, in a month's time, I would suggest," Mr Bennetts said.
"We still have a lot of winter to go, but you could see confidence coming back into the market."
The mild winter, so far, and availability of feed meant the cattle presented in good condition.
Jamie Quinlan, Elders Yea, said there was "extraordinary" demand for feeder cattle.
"A lot of those feeder cattle were 330c/kg through to 360c/kg, in places, right to the end," Mr Quinlan said.
The 300-360kg well-bred Angus steers attracted prices of 350c/kg.
"All the way through to the secondary, dairy cross cattle, there is a lot more competition,
"Cattle that were making a couple of hundred dollars are making $400 and a bit, and $500 in places."
He said there confidence had returned to the cattle job.
"This fat market just keeps rising and rising, and all of a sudden people might have a little bit of feed," he said.
"At the end of the day, these cattle are drying up.
"It's been a bit of an effort to scrape together 1800 cattle, and it was a pretty good yarding."
R Visser, Koo Wee Rup sold 14 steers, 482kg, for $1575, or 326cents/kilogram.
Cremona Park, which had one of the biggest drafts in the sale, sold 25 steers, 293kg, for $1060, or 361c/kg.
The vendor sold a second pen of 28, 276kg, for $995, or 360c/kg.
Cremona Park's first two pens of heifers were knocked down for an average of $640.
A Nicholls, Korumburra, sold 14 steers, 465kg, for $1520, or 326c/kg.
Eccles Nominees, Baxter, sold a pen of 13 steers, 546kg, for $1680, or 307c/kg.
The first pen of 10 Hereford steers, 604kg, offered by B Reid, Heyfield, sold for $1650, or 273c/kg, while 10 in the second pen, 530kg, went for $1590, or 300c/kg.
F & J Puglisi, Pakenham, sold five steers, 475kg, for $1450, or 305c/kg.
D&S Armour, Warragul West, sold 17 steers, 552kg, for $1730, or 313c/kg and a second pen of 11, 510kg, for $1650, or 323c/kg.
ML and JR Ahern, Pakenham, sold a pen of 13 steers, 346kg, for $1070, or 309c/kg.
E Burston, Shoreham, sold a pen of 20 steers, 417kg, for $1570, or 376c/kg, to Charlton Number One.
B White, Hoddles Creek, sold six Tibooburra blood Angus heifers, 385kg, for $1030. or 267c/kg.
S Forrest, Labertouche, sold eight Angus/Limousin-cross heifers, 362kg, by a Rennylea bull, for $1140, or 314c/kg.
Fulton Farms, Shoreham, sold 13 steers, 493kg, for $1600, or 324c/kg.
Hillcrest Cattle Station sold eight heifers, 293kg, for $690, or 235c/kg.
JJ and M & R Hamilton, Trafalgar, sold five Angus heifers, depastured to an Angus bull, for $1080.
M Blackwell and M Beach, Belgrave South, sold three cows, depastured to an Angus bull, for $1100.
C&M Morris, Tarrawarra, sold seven, two and a half year old Angus heifers, PTIC to an Anvil Angus bull, for $1340.