Commission buyers and feedlotters say locals were "sitting on their hands" at the annual Ballarat Stock and Station Agents Association feature male grown and weaner cattle sale.
Agents yarded 5049 head of cattle, with lighter steers reaching 600 cents a kilogram and over.
All the major feedlots were in attendance, with strong competition from commission buyers as well as Gippsland agents.
Elders Ballarat Livestock manager Grame Nicholson said local producers were selling rather than buying.
"The market was driven by the professional feedlotters, [with] the processors buying cattle for winter, " Mr Nicholson said.
"Apart from the Gippslanders, who bought quite a lot of cattle early in the sale, there wasn't a lot of grazier activity.
"They were sitting on their hands a bit.
"It was a magnificent run of grown steers and we had an exceptional run of heavy weaners in that 380-430kg bracket."
He said buyers were buying to a price rather than on weight.
"The 300-400kg cattle were in that 500-520c/kg range, when you got above 400kg, you got 480-520c/kg," he said.
Rangers Valley, Hopkins River, TFI and Ray White were active.
Tom Madden, TB White & Sons, said the heavier end of the cattle sold from 400-500c/kg.
"The older cattle, 400-500kg, sold between 460-500c/kg, which is nearly on par with anywhere in the country, and further down the weights, the better they sold," Mr Madden said.
"We've been blessed with a phenomenal season, and all the cattle have really flourished.
"A lot of the weaner calves were well in excess of 300kg."
He said a Swan Hill feedlot was buying for the first time in 12 to 18 months.
Mark Middleton, HF Richardson, said there were very few cattle under 300kg.
"A lot of those cattle went north; there were a lot of locals trying, but they were a bit scared off by the higher prices," Mr Middleton said.
"The Gippslanders were quite active on the bottom end of the grown steers, in that 350-430kg range."
Deebys Way sold sold 22 Te Mania-blood steers, 192kg, for $1400 or 729c/kg.
They also sold a pen of 19 Angus steers, 255kg, for $1540 or 603c/kg.
Fraser Partners, BoPeep, sold nine Angus steers, 10-11-months-old, 228kg, for $1540 or 675c/kg.
MJ Loader sold 13 Angus steers, 316kg, for $1680 or 531c/kg.
They also sold 10 Langi Kal Kal-blood steers, 250kg, for $1540 or 616c/kg.
BW and HM Rowe sold eight Angus steers, 315kg, for $1695 or 538c/kg.
RT & DM Sutherland sold nine Angus steers, 251kg, for $1540 or 613c/kg.
Marnong Estate sold 18 Merrigrange-blood steers, 8-9-months-old, 272kg, for $1590 or 584c/kg.
Barwonleigh Ag sold 24 Angus steers, 235kg, for $1520 or 646c/kg.
KW and KM Miller sold seven Angus-cross steers, 242kg, for $1480 or 611c/kg.
J&J Mullane sold seven steers, 681kg, for $2620 or 384c/kg.
Kelso Partnership sold eight Angus steers, 582kg, for $2340 or 402c/kg.
David Bertalli sold five steers, 703kg, for $2650 or 376c/kg.
B&J Day sold 18 Lawsons-blood steers, 578kg, for $2340 or 404c/kg.
Esse Rural sold 10 Lawsons-blood steers, 619kg, for $2450 or 395c/kg.
Neville Boyd sold 17 steers, averaging 570kg, for $2320 or 407c/kg.
Lake Goldsmith Pastoral sold 22 Raff and Merridale-blood steers, 587kg, for $2380 or 405c/kg.