KING Island and the Atherton Tableland might be thousands of kilometres apart, but that doesn't mean they both can't share the limelight when it comes to producing top-notch steak.
That's the view of leading North Queensland cattlemen following the success of the Pearce family's blockbuster Telpara Hills Brangus stud sale, at Tolga on Friday.
The sale was the largest single vendor on-property sale held in the north and attracted buyers from as far afield as South Australia.
Brittany Pearce said holding the sale on-property was a step into unchartered waters. But having built a loyal client base after selling at Rockhampton and Roma, Ms Pearce said with the interest in their cattle and the buoyancy in the beef industry, the time was right.
"It was gamble in a way, but with the beef market so strong we felt it was the year to do it," she said.
Ms Pearce said they were working to improve carcase quality so buyers of their stud stock could confidently aim to produce restaurant-grade steak.
"We want our clients to attract more value to their product. We want them to be able to produce more kilos of beef and to get paid more for it," she said. "We don't see why the Atherton Tableland can't become another King Island, even a mini-King Island in terms of high grade beef production."
Elders North Queensland stud stock auctioneer Anthony Ball said the success of the sale represented a giant step forward for the Far North Queensland stud cattle industry.
Mr Ball agreed with Ms Pearce's prediction that the Tableland had the God-given ingredients for it to become a mini-King Island.
King Island beef, which has a slavish following among 'steakologists' nation-wide, might one day find itself competing with this little-known cattle growing area 2600km away in Australia's Wet Tropics.
"The Atherton Tableland beef sector is one of the best kept secrets in Australia, but not anymore," Mr Ball said.
"It is unique in that it has such great soil and reliable rainfall. Pound for pound cattle there can match anything in Australia."
Elders North Queensland manager Scott Mawn described the sale's roaring success as a coming of age for the Far North's beef industry.
He said it demonstrated that a high quality product would always attract buyers.
"We had cattle going all over Queensland and into New South Wales. One heifer went to South Australia. I doubt anything like this has ever happened in Far North Queensland before," he said.
Atherton Tableland Better Beef Open Day president Nick Trompf said the sale's success paved the way for the region to become the seed stock capital of northern Australia.
Mr Trompf said the success of last year's inaugural beef field day had given the Pearce family from Telpara Hills an inkling that an on-property sale was something that might work.
"The idea was that instead of trucking their bulls south to the big sales they might have their own sale up here on the Tableland. The hope was that the buyers might come to them. Well, those buyers did come. That is just what happened," Mr Trompf said.
"What we've seen over the years is beef producers having the view they have to go to the big sales in the south to source quality bulls. What happens is that sometimes bulls from these southern areas have trouble adapting to different climate and pastures. We wanted to encourage northern cattlemen to buy locally, but as of last Friday we have discovered that buyers from southern areas are prepared to come here as well to buy bulls. This is the ultimate compliment."
"The depth of the buyers both at the ring and on-line was staggering. It is a quantum leap forward for the Tableland."