A handful of major buyers took home the bulk of cattle offered at Pakenham's store sale on Thursday, as restockers took a backseat in a market that was largely down on quality and price.
Agents yarded 2200 cattle at the Victorian Livestock Exchange where vendor-bred cattle were hard to source.
Feedlots underpinned the fortnightly store sale, purchasing as much as three quarters of the yarding.
Demand for breeding stock was also promising with cow and calf units selling for more than $3000.
Elders Pakenham auctioneer Michael Robertson said he was pleased with the result considering other sales across eastern Australia on Thursday, including a mega 5300-head yarding at Mortlake in the Western District running simultaneously to Pakenham.
"If we didn't have our major buyers here today, it would have been quite dismal but there's still a lot of weight in cattle at the moment which is keeping those feedlot guys here," Mr Robertson said.
"Feedlotters were also starting to hook into those low 300-kilo cattle too and we estimate about 75 per cent of our sale would have been feedlot-driven."
Mr Robertson said seasonal conditions were mostly dictating the market with restockers less confident to purchase cattle due to some areas of the region desperately requiring more rain.
"Our straight-bred cattle were very strong but once you got onto the crossbreds and secondary cattle, prices started to struggle but the dollar sign was still very good," he said.
The sale started with cows and calves which sold to $3150 for a pen of five cows with calves at foot offered by L & N Barker, Woodend.
D Gearon, Macclesfield, sold six cows with calves at foot for $3050, as did R Stipani, Willung South, who sold six cows with calves at foot for the same price.
D Bates, Munro, sold six cows with calves at foot for $3100, while Bruce Pratt, Warragul South, sold seven cows, first to third calves, with calves at foot for $3000.
Alex Scott & Staff Warragul livestock manager Neil Darby said small vendor-bred cattle sold to competitive rates.
"We had cattle here today making 550c/kg and better so they sold very well," Mr Darby said.
"Feedlotters are having a fair influence and that's something we've noticed over the last few weeks.
"Each agent had some very good cattle but the tail-enders were quite difficult to sell."
B Pittman, Yannathan, sold steers to a top of $1900 and a pen of 14, 332kg, for $1720 a head or 518 cents a kilogram.
The same vendor also sold 19 heifers, 283kg, for $1490 or 526c/kg.
Eyton on Yarra, Healesville, sold 38 mixed-sex cattle, 12-14 months, including 12 steers, 380kg, for $1760 or 463c/kg and 11 heifers, 295kg, for $1400 or 474c/kg.
Yarrawyah Farm, Lilydale, sold 104 spring-drop calves including a top pen of 17 steers, 304kg, for $1660 or 546c/kg.
The second pen of steers, 278kg, made $1590 or 571c/kg, while the top pen of 29 heifers, 288kg, made $1360 or 472c/kg.
Nar Nar Goon Angus sold 18 steers, 294kg, for $1650 or 561c/kg.
D & H Wigg, Maffra, sold 23 steers, 275kg, for $1590 or 578c/kg.
Nutrien Delaney Livestock & Property director Anthony Delaney said the sale lacked the quality of cattle compared to the previous fortnightly sale.
"There was less competition from northern buyers and that's probably because Mortlake was on the same day," Mr Delaney said.
"We saw a slightly easier result on the smaller cattle but all the big cattle suitable for feedlots sold just as well."
Mr Delaney said it had also been challenging to source well-conditioned vendor-bred cattle.
"We're starting to see a few more poke around now in the spring-drop section but once they run out, who knows where we will find them," Mr Delaney said.
"The features of our sale included the Ferguson family from Longwood who had a pen of 26 heifers, 445kg, which sold to $1950," Mr Delaney.
"Woodlands of Ararat sold a similar weighed pen to $1900 and the Seebeck family offered a younger draft which sold up to $1800 and averaged around $1500."
Geoff Murray, Nar Nar Goon, sold 11 steers, 610kg, for $2180 or 357c/kg.
DW Hasthorpe, Tanjil South, sold eight steers, 365kg, for $1510 or 413c/kg.
Dalmore Park, Dalmore, sold 12 steers, 293kg, for $1560 or 523c/kg.
K Beale, Darnum, sold six steers, 467kg, for $1890 or 404c/kg.
Armstrong Farm, Bona Vista, sold 14 steers, 582kg, for $2090 or 359c/kg.
Tanjil Valley Welding Pty Ltd, Tanjil South, sold eight steers, 310kg, for $1570 or 506c/kg.
P & G Shankland, Lang Lang West, sold 17 steers, 619kg, for $2320 or 374c/kg.
D Thompson, Hastings, sold 11 heifers, 241kg, for $1200 or 497c/kg.
G &J Battley, Yarragon, sold 13 heifers, 395kg, for $1600 or 405c/kg.
Tanjil Valley Welding Pty Ltd, Tanjil South, sold 14 heifers, 278kg, for $1340 or 482c/kg.