Feedlot demand for heavy cattle rose at Pakenham on Thursday as lighter steers fetched higher than usual prices.
More than 3000 cattle were presented for sale at the second last store market of the year.
Restockers were less prominent compared to a fortnight ago as prices for heavy cattle dropped slightly on earlier sales.
Alex Scott & Staff Pakenham livestock manager David Setches said heavy cattle between 380-500 kilograms were softer than a fortnight ago.
"What did take a great lift was the lighter cattle," he said.
"We had 230 to 280kg steers making up to 370 cents a kilogram and that's because there's not many of those lighter cattle around and people are eager to buy those cattle."
A diverse field of buyers helped maintain price and demand as Landmark International placed firm bids on steers under 330kg, bolstering prices on lighter cattle.
"Agents were buying cattle for clients, we saw the odd farmer at the rail which we haven't seen in previous weeks - obviously they have a bit of feed and they want to eat it down - and feedlot competition was very strong," Mr Setches said.
Heavy steers made about 300c/kg, mid-range steers between 380-480kg made on average 280-315c/kg and steers under 300kg made up to 350c/kg.
Nathan Gibbon Livestock manager Nathan Gibbon said despite the fantastic season, the sale didn't break any records.
"We had a lot of cattle here and I thought the heavier cattle just made the rate," he said.
"I had some Angus steers vendor-bred by Peter Hansen at 565kg that made $1870 [a head] so that was just under 300c/kg, but that probably reflects the fat market dropping 10 or 20c/kg in the last week or two."
Elders Pakenham auctioneer Carlo Taranto sold a top pen of 32 steers, 320kg, for $1200 or 375c/kg.
"The market was softer on the heavier end of cattle but certainly the younger cattle are fully firm and sold to firm rates," he said.
"But the heavier cattle where the processors were involved were 10 to 15c/kg cheaper and that's because the fat market has come back because of the numbers.
"A lot of these cattle sold today will go onto feed before they're slaughtered but there are cattle good enough to be slaughtered and they're in the right weight range for those feedlotters in that mid-400kg mark."
SEJ Pakenham auctioneer Dan Cameron said the larger yarding was because vendors were keen to offload before the New Year.
"The lighter weaner cattle, especially if they were well-bred, sold very strongly and made over 300c/kg ... but the heavier were a little back on the last sale by about 20c/kg," he said.
L Brewer, Warragul sold 20 steers, 551kg, for $1670 or 303c/kg.
Rushes Creek Partnership sold 25 steers for $610.
Molare Pty Ltd, Nar Nar Goon, sold 20 steers, 403kg, for $1285 or 318c/kg.
Baw Baw Angus, Icy Creek, sold 18 steers, 418kg, for $1265 ot 302c/kg.
Barooga sold 14 steers, 383kg, for $1150 or 300c/kg.
RA Jones, Glen Forbes, sold 14 steers, 348kg, for $1110 or 318c/kg.
R and C Mansen, Caldermeade, sold 13 steers, 333kg, for $1150 or 345c/kg.
R and E Peters sold 12 steers, 316kg, for $1010 or 319c/kg.
In the heifers, B Waterhouse, Pakenham South, sold 12 heifers for $660.
Viewgrange Pastoral Pty Ltd sold 20 heifers, 428kg, for $1200 or 280c/kg.
R Grant, Bega, NSW, sold 12 heifers, 300kg, for $700 or 233.
S Geier, Woodend, sold 11 heifers, 366kg, for $1030 or 281c/kg.
Modella Park, Modella, sold 13 heifers for $570.