Tomorrow is the first day of the Cornell Nutrition Conference, a terrific annual meeting of researchers,  academics, students, and industry professionals involved in the nutrition of cattle, with considerable emphasis on dairy cattle. It is a great opportunity to catch up on the latest findings, pick some really clever brains, and network. As Cornell alumni and pioneers in CNCPS, the AMTS team views this as the geek equivalent of homecoming weekend. We started this 31 Days of posting as a sort of homage to the work and people behind the AMTS.Cattle.Pro program. There is so much involved in the program, 31 Days twice over would still just scratch the surface.

As the primary author, some days were tough—I am sure it showed in the post! In meetings and discussions with people to are much more experienced users and with my work colleagues, I knew there were a lot of “little” tricks that help make the model more predictive. I knew there were tips that help facilitate farm analysis. My goal was a series of little posts that would parse out information is small, digestible, and hopefully, memorable bits.

The last tip for this series has to do with the User’s Manual. AMTS.Cattle.Pro is a big program; to explain using the program requires a big manual. When I began a year ago in March, it was a 58 page document. I have it now at 98 pages. I have attempted to proceed logically and chronologically through the manual as you would proceed through the program. This big document, as yet, has no table of contents or index. It is just a long .pdf that the user must scroll through to find the needed explanation. It is not that I am cruel and enjoy the thought of an already frustrated (why else is s/he looking at the manual) user laboriously looking for the section that answers his/her question. It is just that I am always behind on making the manual match the program and doing the other things I do that I never quite get to create the table of contents.

Well, did you know that there is a sort of table of contents built in to Acrobat Reader (usually a free installation on most computers)? In the help menu, open the Manual. Your screen should look like this:



The headings act as a sort of outline for the manual. We are planning a release of an updated version of AMTS.Cattle.Pro right after CNC. In that version, the most recent version of the manual will have a Table of Contents. Additionally (now that I know this), I will pay more careful attention to the headings so that the manual will be much easier to search for the area about which there is a question. In the meantime, this tip should help you find the information you are looking for.


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