Current Bull Team: Hano, Float, Sidekick, Crushabull & Arrow
Important traits: a well-balanced cow concentrating on rumps, feet & legs, udders & dairyness
First EX cow: Misty Brae Luckystrike Rita
His parents actively discouraged him from dairying but that didn’t stop Gino from returning to his roots after completing his tertiary education, spending 7 years away from the cows.
His father expressed it was ‘tough yards’ and believed nailing down a job with a suit and tie meant you had made it in life.
At the age of 27 he returned to dairying, wide-eyed and eager to spend time with the cows.
In 1991, his parents retired and Gino took over the commercial business with his wife Mandy, supporting him every step of the way.
In 2001, they began working their way through the appendix system, turning their fully commercial herd into a registered stud.
Gino said the advantages of registration were undeniable and a series of comments made by a previous employee persuaded him to change.
He joined multiple discussion groups, finding verification of parentage, depth of pedigree and premium returns extremely appealing.
“It all forms part of what I call your superannuation policy. You’re building up an asset over a period of time which is proven to be greater than not undertaking those services. That convinced me to go down the registered path and the rest is history,” Gino said.
Together Gino and Mandy increased from milking 50 cows to 300, operating on 400 hectares of land, leasing 100 and owning the rest.
At one stage they ran two dairies, milking 400 plus cows over 18 months. Gino’s wife Mandy said, “That proved to be pretty challenging”.
Today Misty Brae operates in a herringbone dairy at Hindmarsh Tiers, SA calving all year round.
They run a grazing rotation, using partial mixed ration during the summer and autumn months. The mixer wagon is retired during the winter months when access to the property is limited.
It took almost 8 years for Misty Brae to transition the majority of the herd to fully registered animals.
Embryo transfers and sexed semen played an integral role in fast tracking genetic gain within the South Australian stud.
They began using sexed semen exclusively on maiden heifers. “Now that’s transitioned to the milking herd too,” Gino said.
Like all businesses, cost of production has been a driving factor to the profitability of the Misty Brae farm and having good-producing, well-converting cows is premium to their success.
With the significant increase in input costs over the last 18 months, Gino said it can be challenging to keep a lid on expenses.
“Fertiliser, chemicals, fodder, machinery and electricity are exponentially higher this calendar year and the ability to keep those under control is vital to profitability,” he said.
They have concentrated on increasing production standards, using genetic stocktake and genomic data along with other services to make the best decisions to improve their herd.
He said Holstein Australia’s classification service was another bench marking tool for herd improvement, helping Misty Brae develop a good sound herd.
“Having efficient cows that can convert feed into milk, butter fat and protein contributes enormously,” Gino said.
Many of their breeding decisions have been focused on improving cow capacity, strength, feet and legs, udders and rumps, maintaining consistency in their herd.
“Having a good sound rump structure is the main driver in cow functionality.
A sound wide rump structure leads to correct feet and legs and will provide ample room for a high wide udder necessary for highly productive Holstein cows,” Gino said.
The Pacitti sons, Ashley and Andrew along with past and present employees have been central to achieving the Master Breeder accolade.
“It’s been a team effort of all those involved along the way,” Gino said.
The Master Breeder was always Mandy’s goal. “I wanted recognition for Gino, for all of his hard work and years of excellent breeding,” Mandy said.
Mandy has made her own mark on the business, rearing calves, balancing the books and undertaking every task within her physical limitations while raising her two sons.
“She’s been a huge support to the business and our family and she has flourished in the dairy community,” Gino said.
He said the future of Misty Brae looks bright in the coming years with his son Andrew being personally interested in breeding genetics, maintaining there is always room for improvement.
With the changing of the guard, Andrew has given careful consideration to the cost of calf-rearing; calculating the exact amount of female calves which need to be reared each year with plans in place to use sexed semen to selectively breed the top end of the herd.
Mandy said, “We are all very honoured and proud we’ve managed to accomplish Master Breeder status. It has been a team effort and we hope the entire family take ownership of their contributions”.
Join us in congratulating the Pacitti family on their outstanding achievement and contribution to the Holstein breed.