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                    John Gay, DVM PhD DACVPM               AAHP                  FDIU             VCS

In-Print & On-Line Production Medicine Information Resources

Updated April 22, 2014



This is a resource list for developing production medicine expertise in the species of your interest.

Make a habit of reading at a specific time for a specific amount of time each week. You have more free time now than you will have in a busy practice. In practice the only time that you are making money is when you are doing something that is billable to a client. Anything else is at best an investment toward doing future billable work.

Learn skills for "environmental monitoring," for identifying the best sources, and for managing your personal library. PubMed indexes the refereed scientific veterinary literature but misses much applied literature, such as proceedings. Use software such as Mendeley or Zotero to manage your library and to share citations. Much useful material is not part of the core veterinary curriculum and cannot be mastered for even a single species during veterinary school. As will be the case in practice, mastery requires dedicated self-motivated, self-directed self-instruction for sufficient time.

[Return to Contents List]

Core Production Medicine Texts:


Brand, A, JPTM Noordhuzien, YH Schukken, eds. (1998). Herd Health and Production Management in Dairy Practice. 3rd reprint Wageningen Pers. ISBN 978-90-74134-34-7  466 pp. pprbk.  Amazon

An excellent text for dairy practice written by 30 authors, including 10 from the US.

  1. Herd Health and Production Management Programs
  2. Monitoring Replacement Rearing
  3. Monitoring Dry Period Management
  4. Monitoring Milk Production
  5. Monitoring Reproductive Performance
  6. Monitoring Udder Health
  7. Monitoring Foot Health
  8. Approach for Control of Infectious Diseases in Cattle Herds
  9. Animal Health and Dairy Production in Developing Countries

Risco, CA, Retamal PM, eds. (2011). Dairy Production Medicine. Wiley-Blackwell. 363 pages Amazon

An excellent new text for dairy practice, written by 25 authors.

  1. Management Considerations from Parturition to the End of the Voluntary Waiting Period to Optimize Health and Reproductive Performance
  2. Nutritional Management of the Prepartum Dairy Cow
  3. Calving Management: A Team Approach
  4. Monitoring Health and Looking for Sick Cows
  5. Nutritional Management of Lactating Dairy Cows
  6. Reproductive Management in Dairy Cows
  7. Reproductive Management of Lactating Dairy Cows for First Postpartum Insemination
  8. Applications of Ultrasonography in Dairy Cattle Reproductive Management
  9. Resynchronization of Estrus, Ovulation, and Timed Insemination in Lactating Dairy Cows
  10. Diseases that Affect the Reproductive Performance of Dairy Cattle
  11. Infectious Reproductive Diseases
  12. Economics of Reproductive Performance
  13. Managing Reproduction During Heat Stress in Dairy Cows
  14. Immunology and Vaccination of Dairy Cattle
  15. Management of Dairy Calves from Birth to Weaning
  16. Nutritional Management of Dairy Heifers
  17. Management Strategies to Optimize Reproductive Efficiency in Dairy
  18. Managing Mastitis and Producing Quality Milk
  19. Lameness in Dairy Cattle
  20. Management Strategies for Optimizing Forage Quality for Dairy Production
  21. Applied Statistical Analyses for Dairy Production Pablo
  22. Dairy Records Analysis and Evaluation of Performance
  23. Managing People in Today's Production Dairy Environment
  24. Practical Genetics
  25. Euthanasia Techniques for Dairy Cattle
  26. Managing Herd Health in Organic Herds

Chenoweth, PJ, MW Sanderson (2005). Beef Practice: Cow-calf Production Medicine. Blackwell Publ.  328 pages Amazon

An excellent text for cow-calf practice, written by 13 authors. Note the authors to look for their other publications.
  1. Introduction   (PJ Chenoweth, G Rupp)
  2. Cow/Calf Production Principles   (PJ Chenoweth)
  3. Record and Epidemiology for Production Medicine   (MW Sanderson)
  4. Herd Health Management   (PJ Chenoweth)
  5. Biosecurity for Beef Cow/Calf Production   (MW Sanderson, DR Smith)
  6. Beef Cowherd Nutrition and Management   (TT Marston)
  7. Behavior and Handling   (T Grandin)
  8. Replacement Heifers   (RL Larson)
  9. Breeding Bull Selection, Assessment, and Management   (PJ Chenoweth)
  10. Assisted Reproduction   (PJ Chenoweth)
  11. Calving and Calf Management in Beef Herds   (MW Sanderson)
  12. Beef Cattle Economics and Finance   (G Dewell, T Kasari)
  13. Beef Quality Assurance   (DD Griffin)
  14. Cow/Calf Welfare Considerations   (PJ Chenoweth)
  15. Environmental Aspects of Livestock Production   (G Nader, G Veserat, V Veserat, L Fitzhugh)

Radostits, OM, (ed., 2001). Herd Health: Food Animal Production Medicine 3rd ed. Saunders, 884 pp. ISBN 0-7216-7694-4.Amazon

An excellent but out of print book covering the core production medicine principles for the major species. If you can't find a used copy to buy and read from cover to cover, at least read the first 5 chapters and the chapters that cover the species of your interest.

  1. General principles of health management in food-producing animals,   (OM Radostits) 
  2. Quantitative tools for production-oriented veterinarians,   (BD Slenning) 
  3. Records systems and herd monitoring in production-oriented health management programs in food-producing animals,   (JK Reneau, M. Kinsel) 
  4. Control of infectious diseases in food-producing animals,   (OM Radostits) 
  5. Investigation of disease outbreaks and suboptimal productivity,   (C Waldner)
  6. Dairy cattle health and production,    (PL Ruegg) 
  7. Maintaining reproductive efficiency in dairy cattle,   (PW Farin, BD Slenning) 
  8. Culling and genetics in dairy cattle,   (GE Shook) 
  9. Health management of dairy calves and replacement heifers,   (AJ Heinrichs, OM Radostits) 
  10. Mastitis control in dairy herds,  (R Erskine) 
  11. Dairy cattle nutrition,   (BJ Gerloff) 
  12. Dairy cattle housing and environmental management,   (WG Bickert, OM Radostits) 
  13. Health management in beef cattle breeding herds,   (PJ Chenoweth, MW Sanderson) 
  14. Health and production management in beef feedlots,   (RA Smith, GL Stokka, OM Radostits, DD Griffin) 
  15. Planned animal health and production in swine herds,   (RB Morrison, SA Dee, J Deen) 
  16. Health and production management for sheep  (PR Scott)

textbook chapters:

Anderson DE, & M Rings (2009). Current Veterinary Therapy, Food Animal Practice, 5th ed. - Amazon

Several chapters are directly relevant to production medicine. Note the authors to look for their other publications. Example chapters are:

  • Chap. 99:489-493. Evidence-based veterinary medicine - therapeutic considerations (RL Larson, VR Fajt)
Section 13: Cow-calf / Small Ruminant Production Medicine
  • Chap 110:576-580. Marketing beef cow-calf production medicine in private practice (WM HIlton)
  • Chap 111:581-586. Economic analysis techniques for the cow-calf practitioner (TR Kasari)
  • Chap 112:587-594. Cow-calf operation beef quality assurance (D Griffin)
  • Chap 113:594-599. Biosecurity for cow-calf enterprises (M Sanderson)
  • Chap 116:605-613. Beef heifer development (RL Larson)
Section 14: Feedlot Production Medicine (DU Thomson)

Noakes DE, TJ Parkinson, GCW England (2009). Veterinary Reproduction and Obstetrics, 9th ed. - Amazon

  • Chap 24:519-558. Veterinary control of herd fertility (T Parkinson, D Barrett)

Youngquist, RS, & W Threlfall. (2006). Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology, 2nd - Amazon

Several chapters are relevant to production medicine for dairy, beef, sheep, and swine. Read those relevant to your species interest but don't overlook the others because they may contain important ideas that you can apply to your area of interest. Also, scan the references at the end of chapters for good papers. Note the authors to look for their other publications. Example chapters are:

  • Chap 56:431-442. Effects of Environment on Bovine Reproduction.   (PJ Hansen)
  • Chap 57:442-450. Effects of Nutrition on Reproduction in Dairy Cattle.   (JN Spain, M Lucy, DK Hardin)
  • Chap 58:450-456. Effects of Nutrition on Reproductive Performance of Beef Cattle  (WS Swecker, R Kasmanickam)
  • Chap 59:457-463. Heifer Development— Nutrition, Health, and Reproduction   (RL Larson, RF Randle)
  • Chap 61:473-489. Reproductive Health Programs for Dairy Herds: Analysis of Records for Assessment of Reproductive Performance   (J Fetrow, S Stewart, S Eicker, P Rapnicki)
  • Chap 62:490-696. Reproductive Health Programs for Beef Herds: Analysis of Records for Assessment of Reproductive Performance (T Engelken, C Trejo, K Voss)
  • Chap 111:?-?. Using Statistical Process Control to Investigate Reproductive Failure. 


Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice (WSU Access)

    entire issues: (examples)
  • 19(2) Jul 03: Economics of the Red Meat and Dairy Industries
  • 20(3) Nov 04: Managing the Transition Cow to Optimize Health and Productivity
  • 22(1) Mar 06: Barnyard Epidemiology and Performance Assessment
  • 22(2) Jul 06: Stocker Cattle Management
  • 23(1) Mar 07: Topics in the Nutritional Management of the Beef Cow and Calf
  • 23(2) Mar 07: Topics in the Nutritional Management of Feedlot Cattle
  • 24(1) Mar 08: Dairy Heifer Management
  • 24(2) Jul 08: Field Surgery of Cattle, Part I
  • 25(1) Mar 09: Bovine Neonatology
  • 26(2) Jul 10: Bovine Respiratory Disease
  • 28(2) Jul 12: Mastitis in Dairy Cows
  • 29(1) Mar 13: Pain Management
  • 29(2) Jul 13: Metabolic Diseases of Dairy Cattle
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Ancillary Production Medicine Resources:

on-line proceedings: (don't overlook professional society proceedings, such as AABP, AVC, NMC, SFT,    . . .)

current producer practices:

USDA Center for Animal Health Monitoring (NAHMS) - surveys major livestock industries every 5 years

  • Beef Cow-calf Studies
    • Vaccination of Calves for Respiratory Disease on U.S. Beef Cow-calf Operations, 2007 Infosheet - pdf
    • Vaccination of Cattle and Calves on U.S. Beef Cow-calf Operations, 2007 Infosheet - pdf
    • Parasites on U.S. Beef Cow-calf Operations, 2007-08 Infosheet - pdf
    • Parasite Control Practices on U.S. Cow-calf Operations, 2007-08 Infosheet - pdf
  • Beef Feedlot Studies
  • Dairy Studies
  • Sheep Studies

Other on-line Production Management Info:

papers: (this list is incomplete)

  • general:
    • Keys to success in rural practice, 2009 (Hilton WM, CVC Proceedings, dvm360)
  • beef:
    • The consulting veterinarian on the feedyard management team: Objective measurements for subjective decisions, 2009 (Hunsaker BD, CVC Proceedings, dvm360)
    • Teaching veterinary students beef production medicine with student/producer teams, 2007 (Robbe-Austerman S, Strohbehn DR, Pence M, Thomson JU, JVME 34(4):524-528, 2007) WSU access
    • Herd health in cow/calf operations in North America (A western Canadian perspective), 2006. JR Campbell, M Jelinski, XXIV World Buiatrics - pdf
    • Impact of the Texas Beef Partnership in Extension Program on profitability of beef cow-calf herds, 2004. (Wikse SE, McGrann JM, Herd DB et al., JAVMA 225(2):210-220, 2004).
    • Veterinary consulting opportunities utilizing the beef PEP approach, 2003 (Wikse SE, Holland PS, The AABP Proceedings 36:73-85)
    • Improving profitability in east Texas beef herds: Practitioner's perspective, 2003 (Posey D, The AABP Proceedings 36:79-89)
    • Marketing veterinary services to small beef producers, 2001 (Hilton MW, The AABP Proceedings 34:)
    • Missed areas of consultation in the beef cattle production cycle, 1997 (Henry S, The AABP Proceedings 30:79-82)
    • Herd management practices that influence total beef calf production.1, 1996 (Kasari T, Gleason D, Comp Cont Educ Pract Veterinarian 18(7):823+, 1996)
    •  Herd management practices that influence total beef calf production.2, 1996 (Kasari T, Gleason D, Comp Cont Educ Pract Veterinarian 18(12):1358+, 1996)
    • Critical thinking as an approach to problem solving for cow/calf production management, 1996 (DeGroff TJ, Agri-Practice 17(3-4):18-23) - [should a beef producer use AI?]
    • Practice opportunities in cow/calf health management, 1995. (Dargatz DA, S 27:117-120)
    • Profitability in beef cow calf herds, ? (Coe PH, Michigan State CVM html)
    • Where is money being left on the table for beef cattle veterinary practitioners? Finding new clients (B Larson, Prosper in Your Beef Cattle Practice, U Missouri Commercial Agriculture Beef Focus Team, pdf)
  • dairy:
    • Transition Management Checklist, 2009. (Overton, MW, WG Boomer, PJ Gorden, WDMC pdf)
    • Imbedding HACCP principles in dairy herd health and production management: Case report on calf rearing, 2008 (Boersema, JSC 1, Noordhuizen JPTM, Vieira A. Irish Vet J 61(9):594-602)
    • A mixed methods inquiry: How dairy farmers perceive the value(s) of their involvement in an intensive dairy herd health management program. (Kristensen E, C Enevoldson, ACTA Veterinaria Scandinavica 50(1), 2008, pdf).
    • The marketing of herd health and production management services on Dutch dairy farms: Perceptions of dairy farmers and their veterinary surgeons, 2008. (Buckley D, SCL Van Winden, JPTM Noordhuizen, JJ Lievaart, Irish Vet J 61(10):668+)
    • Veterinary advice for entrepreneurial Dutch dairy farmers - From curative practice to coach-consultant: what needs to be changed? (Noordhuizen JPTM, MJ Van Egmond, R Jorritsma, et al. Tijdschrift Voor Diergeneeskunde 133(1):4-8, 2008)
    • Veterinary dairy herd health management in Europe: Constraints and perspectives. (Cannas da Silva J, Noordhuizen JP, et al. Vet Q 28(1):23-32, 2006) - WSU access
    • The Hazard Analysis Critical Point's (HACCP) concept as applied to some chemical, physical and microbiological contaminants of milk and dairy farms, 2005 (Lievaart JJ, Noordhuizen JPTM, van Beek E, et al. Vet Q 27(1):21-29) - WSU access
    • Dairy production medicine in the United States, 2004 (Fetrow J, Cady R, Jones G. The Bovine Practitioner 38(2):113-120, 2004)
    • Dairy advisory teams - A tool for production medicine veterinarians, 2002 (Heald CW, LJ Hutchinson, LA Holden, The Bovine Practitioner 36(1):, 2002)
    • Developments in veterinary herd health programmes on dairy farms: a review, 2001 (Noordhuizen JP, GH Wentink, Vet Q 23(4):162-9, 2001)

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Applied Agricultural Economics:

Economics is the study of how people make marketplace decisions, whether purchasing or selling. Farm management economic literacy is essential to successful production medicine practice and for developing value-added services. Without this literacy, you cannot accurately estimate the "bottom line" effect of production medicine interventions and alternatives, which ultimately is the most important effect from the client's perspective. You need at least an intuitive understanding of the concepts of risk and risk management, costs and returns (fixed costs, variable costs, marginal costs and returns, breakeven), the time value of money (present value, future value), the key financial reports (net worth statements, enterprise budgets, accrual vs. cash accounting, balance sheets, cash flow statements) and the principle methods for evaluating alternatives (partial budgets, sensitivity analysis). At best, be able to evaluate the economic consequences of different alternatives, at minimum such evaluations by others, and understand enterprise analysis sufficiently to apply it to a client's specific situation. At least understand trends in input costs and output prices and the relationships between them including seasonal effects. Have at least one applied farm management economics text on your bookshelf.

Have your economics right first and your medicine right second - Dallas Horton

The function of a competitive market is to drive the economic return to the average producer to breakeven through supply and demand responses in both input and output markets.  In equilibrium the top end are profitable and growing, the average are hanging in there, and the bottom end are losing money and exiting the industry.  Business success and survival depend on continuous improvement at a pace necessary to stay in the front half of the pack.  Danny Klinefelter

If you need an understanding of general economics, that material is now in the "My Business Book List" and "Applied Economics" sections of my webpage "Agricultural Veterinarian Business Information Resources."


  • Basis of Marketplace Economics (pdf)
  • Capital Management and Investment Decisions: Ownership costs and capital budgeting (pdf)

Because federal farm policy drives farm economics, understanding the political economy of agriculture (subsidies, market orders, transfer payments, tax policy, tariffs and so on) is important to understanding the cycles and trends of commodity and input prices. The best book is:

Applied farm management economics: Books covering this topic are titled something similar to "Farm Management" and cover decision making of the "bottom line" driven "for profit" producers. An example is:

Kay RD, WM Edwards, PA Duffy (2011). Farm Management, 7th ed. McGraw-Hill  - Amazon

  • Traditional farm management text. Chapters 7 through 12 cover the most useful concepts for herd production medicine

Olson K (2011). Economics of Farm Management in a Global Setting - Amazon

Olson K (2004). Farm Management: Principles and Strategies - Amazon

  • More reasonably priced than hard back Kay et al. Several chapters apply directly to livestock veterinary practice - chapter 2 covers strategic management, chapter 6: "Quality Management and Control" provides a useful perspective on TQM and improving product quality and appendix A covers "Estimating the Annual Costs of Capital Assets"
  • ApEc 3811 Principles of Farm Management - author's course website

Beierlein JG, KC Schneeberger, DD Osburn (2008). Principles of Agribusiness Management, 4th ed. Waveland Press - Amazon

  • ". . . every manager's primary objective is to maximize the long-term profits of their firms by profitably satisfying customers' needs" effectively, efficiently and sustainably
  • The more general management approach of this book applies to components of veterinary practice as well.

Other excellent books, such as Boehlje and Eidman's Farm Management (1984, 1998), Castle, Becker and Nelson's Farm Business Management, and Osburn and Schneeberger's Modern Agricultural Management  are out of print but are available from used bookstores. A concise but out-of-print text is Castle, Becker and Smith's Farm Business Management: The decision-making process, 2nd ed., 1972, available from used books stores for a few dollars.

on-line farm management text:

  • Farm Management for Asia: a Systems Approach (JL Dillon, FAO Farm Systems Management Series - 13, 1997) - TOC

John Deere Publishing - Farm Business Management Series

  • Farm and Ranch Business Management 3rd ed. Rev. (2004, $45.95, FBM10105NC )
    • "An introduction to sound management practices"
  • Machinery Management (1999, $43.95, FBM17105NC)
    • "How to select machinery to fit the needs of today's farm managers."

USDA ERS - Amber Waves


decision analysis:

  • general resources:
    • Slenning, BD (2001). Quantitative Tools for Production-Oriented Veterinarians. Chapt 2, pgs. 47-106 in: Radostits, OM (ed., 2001). Herd Health: Food Animal Production Medicine, 3rd ed.
    • books:
      • Clemen, RT (2004). Making Hard Decisions: An introduction to decision analysis - Amazon
      • Hammon JS, RL Keeney, H Raiffa (2002). Smart Choices: A practical guide to making better decisions - Amazon
      • Skinner, DC (2009). Introduction to Decision Analysis, 3rd ed. - Amazon
  • agriculture-specific resources:
    • Ag Decision Maker - Decision Tools - Iowa State
      • Estimating farm machinery costs - spreadsheet  html  pdf
    • AgManager.Info - Decision Tools - Kansas State
    • AGMRC
    • ASABE - American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
      • Agricultural Machinery Management, 2006 - ASAE Ep496.3 pdf
    • ATTRA
      • Evaluating a rural enterprise - pdf
    • CSU Extension
      • Break-Even Method of Investment Analysis, no. 3.759 - html  pdf
      • Partial Budget Form, no. 3.761 - html  pdf
    • EPA - Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analysis
    • FAST - Farm Analysis Solution Tools - U Illinois
    • Purdue Extension - Ag Economics
      • Are your farm business management skills ready for the 21st century? - ID-244 pdf
    • Small Farm Success Project - Business Management  - (U Maryland Extension - Farm Management)
      • Analyzing Investment Opportunity: The Time Value of Money in Farm Decisionmaking - pdf  html pdf2
      • Enterprise Budgets in Farm Management Decisionmakingpdf   html  pdf2 (Maryland Ext Fact Sheet 545)
      • Cost and Revenue Considerations in Farm Management Decisionmaking pdf2 (Maryland Ext Fact Sheet 546)
      • Using the Partial Budget To Analyze Farm Changepdf   html   pdf2 (Maryland Ext. Fact Sheet 547)
      • Using economic principles to manage your farm  -  pdf   html   pdf2  (Maryland Ext. Fact Sheet 548)
    • Western Risk Management Library - Business planning
      • Economic analysis of a new business - Doing it right, 1996 (Erickson, D, Kansas State , pdf)
      • Partial budgeting, 1992 (Dalsted, NL, PH Gutierrez, Colorado State, pdf)
      • Using a partial budget to analyze changes in your farm operation, 2001 (T Teegerstrom, pdf)
    • WSU
      • Using Enterprise Budgets to Make Decisions about Your Farm (R Carkner, WSU PNW0535) - pdf  pdf2
    • books:
      • Anderson, JR, JL Dillon, JB Hardaker (1977). Agricultural Decision Analysis - Amazon.
      • Fedie, DM (1997). How to Farm for Profit: Practical Enterprise Analysis, AgriControl
      • Hardaker, JB, RBM Huirne, JR Anderson, G Lien (2004). Coping with Risk in Agriculture, 2nd ed. - CABI
      • Noordhuizen JPTM,  K Frankena, CM van der Hoofd, EAM Graat (1997). Application of Quantitative Methods in Veterinary Epidemiology. Part IV. Analysis techniques commonly used in economics, pgs. 363-373.
      • Slenning, BD (2001). Quantitative Tools for Production-Oriented Veterinarians. Chapt 2, pgs. 47-106 in: Radostits, OM (ed., 2001). Herd Health: Food Animal Production Medicine, 3rd ed.
      • Smith, RD (2006). Veterinary Clinical Epidemiology, 3rd ed. Chapt 14: The Cost of Disease, pgs. 217-232.  
    • papers:
      • Economic assessment of animal health performance, 2006 (Galligan DT, Vet Clinics NA Food Anim Pract 22(1):207-)
      • How to use partial budgets to predict the impact of implementing segregated early weaning in a swine herd, 1999. (Drum SD, WE Marsh, Swine Health Prod 7(1):13-18, pdf)
      • Partial budget model for reproductive programs of dairy farm businesses, 1994. (Hady PJ, JW Lloyd, JB Kaneene, AL Skidmore, J Dairy Sci 77:482-491, pdf)
      • Technical and economic models to support heifer management decisions: Basic concepts, 1997 (Mourits MCM, Dijkhuizen AA, Huirne RBM, Galligan DT, J Dairy Sci 80(7):1406-1415, 1997).

    agricultural prices:

    agricultural risk:


    • Introduction to risk management (USDA) - pdf
    • Risk management in agriculture: A holistic conceptual framework. 2009 (OECD)  -  pdf
    • The big five types of agricultural risk - pdf


    Economic Benchmarking - "How well am I doing compared to others in my industry?":



    Beef Cow-calf:
    niche marketing:
    Other Selected On-Line/Printed Materials:

    decision aids:

    macroeconomic data:




    [Return to Contents List]

    Applied Product Technology:

    [Return to Contents List]

    Applied Nutrition:

    Production medicine requires understanding applied nutrition. You must know what production diseases or problems result from inadequate nutrition, how to evaluate rations for those problems, and basic steps to correct and prevent these problems. Feed is the largest variable cost of food animal production and sufficient expertise to minimize this cost can be financially rewarding for the practitioner. Beyond the skills of traditional individual animal clinical medicine, this is the single most important area. Problems occur at every stage, from growing, harvesting, storing, mixing to feeding a ration.

    National Research Council


    Dr. RJ Van Saun's recommendations (08):

    • Basic Nutrition/Clinical Nutrition Texts:
      • Naylor J, S Ralston, Large Animal Clinical Nutrition. Mosby-Year: St. Louis, MO, 1991.
      • Pond, WG, DC Church, KR Pond, PA Schoknekt. Basic Animal Nutrition and Feeding, 5th ed, John Wiley & Sons: New York, 2005.  
    • More advanced text:
      • Van Soest, P.J., Nutritional Ecology of the Ruminant 2nd ed., Cornell University Press, 1994.
    • All students should have:
      • Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, (7th rev. ed.), 2001.
      • Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, (6th ed.), 2000.
    • Applied nutrition sources:
      • Herdt, TH (Ed.), Metabolic Diseases of Ruminant Livestock, Veterinary Clinics of NA: Food Animal Practice, 4(2), 1988.
      • Herdt, TH (Ed.), Metabolic Disorders of Ruminants, Vet Clin NA: Food Animal Pract 16(2), 2000.
      •  Maas, J (Ed.), Beef Cattle Nutrition, Vet Clin NA: Food Animal Pract 7(1), 1991.
      • Sniffen, CJ, and TH Herdt (Eds.), Dairy Nutrition Management, Vet Clin NA: Food Animal Pract 7(2), 1991.
    • Additional Resources:
      • NRAES publications – selection of practical information on various broad and specific topics relative to dairy cattle production (http://www.nraes.org/)
      • AABP preconference seminars

    selected on-line materials:

    Angus Journal

    • Basic Requirements (M Hersom, 8/08 pdf)

    manure analysis:

    Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition    (Including the PSU Forage Particle Separator)

    They are what they EAT: Impact of cow-calf nutrition on reproduction, calf development, and disease resistance (excellent perspective on reproductive economics - K Odde)l

    Intermountain Nutrition Conference - 2008 proceedings

    Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference - proceedings

    National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle

    Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference - proceedings

    Western Canadian Dairy Seminar - Proceedings

    This annual seminar has great applied papers from topic experts. Some nutrition examples are:

    extension sites:

    nutrition software:

    texts, papers:

    [Return to Contents List]

    Forage Production:

    Forages, either harvested or grazed and either purchased or raised, are fundamental to ruminant agricultural animal production. Livestock farms are essentially conversion systems, converting sunlight to plant fiber and concentrate to an animal product. You need to understand the basics of how forages are managed from growing to harvesting to storing to mixing to delivering and the consequences of mis-management of this process.

    • Barnes, RF, CJ Nelson, M Collins, KJ Moore (2007) Forages, Vol I: An Introduction to Grassland Agriculture, 6th ed.(2007)  Amazon
    • Barnes, RF, CJ Nelson, KJ Moore, M Collins (2007) Forages, Vol II: The Science of Grassland Agriculture, 6th ed.(2007)  Amazon

    The textbook bible on planting, raising, and harvesting forages (including corn silage).

    John Deere Publishing - Fundamentals of Machine Operation Series

    • Hay and Forage Harvesting (2004, FMO14105NC, $40.95)

    "Real world" evaluations of the many different ways to improve hay and forage harvesting and storage efficiency.

    Savory, Allan (1998). Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making, 2nd ed. rev. Island Press, Washington, DC. 550 pages. Amazon

    This book covers the Savory rapid rotational grazing system, which is currently popular, and the management of other ranch resources such as capital and labor. This is most applicable to operations involving grazing.

    Holistic Management International

    Vallentine, John (2000) Grazing Management, 2nd ed. Academic Press Amazon

    on-line books:

    grazing websites:

    other extension materials:

    • AUM Analyzer (Montana EB 133 pdf)
    • Coastal Pastures in Oregon and Washington (OSU EM 8645, 1996 pdf)
    • Determining Forage Production and Stocking Rates (MT199704AG pdf)
    • Determining your stocking rate (Utah NR/RM/04 pdf)
    • Evaluation and practical use of research results for developing grazing strategies (PE Reece, Range Cow Beef Symposium XII 1991, pdf)
    • FIS - The Forage Information System (Oregon State)
    • Getting Started Grazing (HM Bartholomew, Ohio TOC)
    • Grazing ecology: Conservation benefits of ruminant agriculture, 2004 (L Paine, pdf)
    • Implementing a Cooperative Permittee Monitoring Program (B-1169, 2006 pdf)
    • Integrating Management Objectives and Grazing Strategies on Semi-arid Rangeland, 2008 U Nebr EC158 - pdf
    • LPES Curriculum Small Farm Fact Sheets
      • The ABCs of Pasture Grazing  (B Bartlett, Michigan State pdf)
      • The ABCs of Livestock Watering Systems (B Bartlett, Michigan State pdf)
      • The ABCs of Electric Livestock Fencing (B Bartlett, Michigan State pdf)
    • Management-Intensive Grazing in Indiana (2007, Purdue AY-328, 60 pg pdf)
    • Principles of Management-Intensive Grazing (W Virginia, 2003 pdf)
    • Pasture Management for Small Landowners in Western Washington (   pdf2)
    • Pastures for profit: A guide to rotational grazing (A3529 pdf)
    • Rangeland Watershed Program (U Calif Extension)
    • Reference Guide for Texas Ranchers (Allan McGinty)
    • Stocking rate and grazing management (Kansas MF-1118 pdf)
    • Useful Grazing Resources & Reference Materials - UW Extension pdf
    • Watering Systems for Grazing Livestock (Iowa PM-1604, pdf)
    • NRAES - National Resources, Agriculture and Engineering Service - Forage production
      • Pasture-Based Livestock Production Series - TOC pdf
      • NRAES 171 Animal Production Systems for Pasture-based Livestock Production
      • NRAES 172 Forage Production for Pasture Based Livestock Production
      • NRAES 173 Forage Utilization for Pasture Based Livestock Production
      • NRAES 174 Managing & Marketing for Pasture Based Livestock Production

    management intensive mob grazing:

    silvopasture: (combining tree production with forage and livestock production)


    Soils are the foundation of forage production and indeed most all food, whether for animals or for humans. On-line books on soils are:

    For a broader perspective on soils, history and civilization, see:

    USDA National Agroforestry Center

    other systems:

    forage and soil blog posts:

    trade press:


    [Return to Contents List]

    Animal Production Systems:

    You must understand the fundamentals of animal production systems that you work with. If you are not already very familiar with a system, one of the best ways to obtain that understanding is by reading a textbook that is intended for applied upper level animal science classes.

    Best Production Practices:

    • Beef Care Practices, 2007 (UC Davis ANR Publication 8257 pdf)
    • Best Management Practices for Small Beef Cow-Calf Herds (U Arkansas FSA3117 pdf)
    • Best Management Practices for Dairy Goat Farmers, 2008 (U Wisc pdf)

    Beef Production:

    • Capstone management text:
      • Field, Thomas G., Robert E. Taylor. (2006). Beef Production and Management Decisions, 5th ed. Prentice-Hall, Amazon

    Dairy Production:

    Sheep Production:

    Dairy Goat Production:

    • National Dairy Goat Handbook - TOC

    Sustainable Livestock Production

    Herd-based Benchmarking, Monitoring and Scoring:


    • Assessing performance of cow-calf operations using epidemiology. (Rae, DO, 2006, Vet Clin Food Anim 22:53-74.)


    Reproduction Systems:

    The Drost Project

    • beef:
      • ARSBC - Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle - Resources
      • Reproduction / Production Accounting Systems:
      • SPA - Standardized Performance Analysis (Beef)
        • Cow Calf: Tally Time – 2009 SPA Performance Measures (CattleNetwork 11/05/09)
        • Oklahoma SPA
          • Cow-Calf Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) (AGEC-222) - pdf
      • government:
        • Management solutions for beef cows (New Zealand) - html
        • Pregnancy testing of beef cattle (Victoria) - html
      • papers:
        • The value of pregnancy testing spring-calving beef cows, 2007 (B Cook, JT Biermacher, D Childs, 16th IFMA Congress proceedings) - pdf
        • The value of pregnancy testing beef cows, 2007 (B Cook, JT Biermacher, D Childs - Noble Foundation NF-AG30) - pdf
      • extension:
        • Buying vs. raising replacement heifers, 2006 (Texas A&M E-371, J Cleere, pdf)
        • Economic comparisons of artificial insemination vs. natural mating for beef cattle herds - MS extension 2486, 2011 - pdf
        • Increasing your calf crop by management, pregnancy testing, and breeding soundness examination of bulls, 2009 (SD Ex2068) - pdf
        • Late calving cows: Lost weight, lost dollars (NDSU BT0224) - pdf
        • Trichomoniasis Prevention: The Cost Per Cow to Prevent (CSU 1.628) - html  pdf
        • Value of beef performance records (U Missouri G2005) - html
      • texts:
        • Factors Affecting Calf Crop: Biotechnology of Reproduction (2001, JV Yelich, CRC Press)
      • trade press:
    • dairy:


    • Pathways to Pregnancy and Parturition, 2nd ed. (2005, PL Senger)
    • Understanding Animal Breeding, 2nd ed. (Bourdon)


    • The history of artificial insemination: Selected notes and notables, 2002 (Am Soc Anim Sci, RH Foote, pdf)


    [Return to Contents List]

    Housing, Facilities and Environment:

    Environment, especially housing, sanitation, and ventilation, has tremendous impact upon animal health, welfare, and productivity. Successful production medicine practice requires efficient animal handling facilities that are safe for both animals and handlers. Environmental management, particularly waste management, is becoming crucial in animal agriculture. You need to become familiar with the factors involved with animal comfort, know how to score animal comfort, how to identify uncomfortable animals, how to identify what is causing the discomfort and potential solutions. For animals housed in buildings, you must understand natural and artificial ventilation to meet animal requirements.

    Midwest Plan Service, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011. (800) 562-3618

    Selected Handbooks - Livestock:

    • Beef - MWPS-6 Beef Housing and Equipment Handbook  ($15.00)
    • Dairy - MWPS-7 Dairy Freestall Housing and Equipment Handbook ($20.00)
    • Sheep - MWPS-3 Sheep Housing and Equipment Handbook  ($10.00)
    • Swine
      • MWPS-8 Swine Housing and Equipment Handbook  ($8.00)
      • MWPS-40 Swine Farrowing Handbook  ($7.00)
    • Construction - MWPS-1 Structures and Environment Handbook  ($40.00)
    • Ventilation
      • MWPS-34 Heating, Cooling and Tempering Air for Livestock Housing  ($8.00)
      • MWPS-32 Mechanical Ventilating Systems for Livestock Housing  ($8.00)
      • MWPS-33 Natural Ventilating Systems for Livestock Housing ($5.00)
    • Waste management - MWPS-18 Livestock Waste Facilities Handbook  ($20.00)

    These provide the housing requirements of different farm animals and facility plans for all sizes of enterprises including barns, corrals, sheds, squeeze chutes, feeders and other equipment that can be built with items from local hardware and lumber stores.

    Curtis, SE (1983). Environmental management in animal agriculture, Books on Demand, ISBN 0783721730 $119.20, 418 p. (formerly an Iowa State University Press book)

    Selected on-line materials / websites: 

    cattle handling: National Dairy Animal Well-Being Western Dairy Management Conference
    • Effect of Flooring and/or Flooring Surfaces on Lameness Disorders in Dairy Cattle (2007, pdf)
    • Makin Me Dizzy Pen Moves and Facility Designs to Maximize Transition Cow Health and Productivity (2007, pdf)
    • CoCow Comfort Cow Comfort Issues in Freestall Barns (2005, pdf)
    • Evaluating and Selecting Cooling Systems for Different Climates (2005, pdf)
    • Managing the Heat-Stressed Cow to Improve Reproduction (2005, pdf)
    • Heat Stress Abatement in Four-Row Freestall Barns (2001, pdf)
    • Heat Stress Management in Freestall Barns in the Western U.S. (1999, pdf)
    [Return to Contents List]

    Applied Genetics:

    For breeding and genetic information, 63% of beef producers with > 200 cows ranked veterinarians as a very important source, twice as high as the next highest ranked source (NAHMS Beef 2007-08 Part 1 page 12). One third of these producers used on-premises computerized records and 10% used off-premises.


    Because genetic improvement and reproduction are behind much of what agricultural animal veterinarians do, this book contains important information. Read the chapters on the variations of the economic traits, principles of breeding, and the systems of breeding and selection for the species of your interest.

    selected on-line materials:

    • Beef
      • BIF - Beef Improvement Federation
        • Guidelines for Uniform Beef Improvement Programs (9th ed 2010  pdf)
        • Proceedings
          • Defining biological efficiency of beef production (DR Notter, pdf
          • Determining Determining post-weaning feed efficiency in beef cattle (DG Fox, LO Tedeschi, MJ Baker, pdf)
          • Gordon Dickerson: Defining economic efficiency of beef production (MW Tess, KC Davis, pdf)
      • Bovine Myology
      • CUP Labalized Ultrasound Processing Lab (carcass ultrasound evaluation)
      • Kentucky
        • Crossbreeding for the commercial beef producer ASC-168 - pdf
      • MARC - Roman - Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center
        • DECI - decision evaluator for the cattle industry (downloadable decision support software)
          • Enhancing Management Decisions { History of the Decision Evaluator for the Cattle Industry, 1999 (B Dunn, TG Jenkis, CB Williams - pdf)
          • A Model of Efficiency (Beef Magazine, 3/1/99)
      • Mississippi State
        • Expected Progeny Differences and Selection Indices for Beef Cattle Selection, 2008 (2491, JA Parish, JD Rhinehart, T Smith, pdf
      • NBCEC - National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium
      • NDSU
      • UC Davis Animal Biotechnology - Outreach
      • UGC - Ultrasound Guidelines Council (certification for carcass ultrasound image collection and interpretation)
      • U Florida
        • Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) in Beef Cattle (AN 1642006, html pdf)
    • Dairy
      • Genetics of Longevity and Productive Life (K Weigel, 2004 WCDS pdf)
      • Dairy Cattle Breeding: Are We Heading in the Right Direction? (EB Burnside, 1997 WCDS html)

    [Return to Contents List]

    Leadership, Motivation, Business, and Organization:

    This section's content now in my expanded webpage Agricultural Veterinarian Business Information Resources

    The business section of general bookstores have books on leadership, communication and motivation. Some good ones are:

    [Return to Contents List]

    Professional Memberships (Bovine):

    Professional society memberships are essential to keeping up in production medicine. Most of the professional associations offer reduced rates to students but include the newsletters and meeting proceedings. The meeting proceedings are particularly important because they contain a lot of current information from the leaders and shakers in the field. Joining while a student help you build your library to tap when you enter practice.

    Note in particular the two animal science societies and their publications. These two publications are where a lot of nutritionists are obtaining their fundamental information on bovine nutrition.

    The current addresses for contacting the following organizations can be found under "Allied Veterinary Organizations" in the "Other Associates" section of the yellow pages in the AVMA directory.

    AABP - American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

    This group has the best annual meeting for bovine practitioners, particularly dairy. It is a very good place to meet other people doing what you are doing and to exchange ideas. They have a home page and sponsor a active list server, AABP-L, for their members. Practitioners can post a question about a herd problem and get input from fellow practitioners and researchers who have dealt with similar problems. The association has a very good pre-meeting seminar program to learn more skills in specialized areas such as nutrition and mastitis. Outside of the certification programs, enrolling in these seminars is a major way that practitioners get up to speed in production medicine and to stay there.

    Because this is a constituent organization of the AVMA, AVMA membership is required to be a member of this group.

    AVC - Academy of Veterinary Consultants

    Focuses on beef cattle veterinary medicine

    Society for Theriogenology

    Focuses on reproduction of all of the veterinary species.

    DCRC - Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council

    Focuses on improving the reproductive performance of dairy herds

    NMC - National Mastitis Council

    Focuses on the control of mastitis in dairy cows and other milk producing animals.

    ADSA - American Dairy Science Association

    This group publishes the Journal of Dairy Science, which is one of the best sources of scientific information on nutrition of the dairy cow.

    American Society of Animal Science

    This group published the Journal of Animal Science, which is one of the best sources of scientific information of the nutrition of ruminants.

    Other Resources:

    [Return to Contents List]

    Recommended Subscriptions:

    The following are professional subscriptions (not an all-inclusive list) that I recommend for keeping up on bovine production medicine.

    With on-line databases such as Medline Pubmed, you can keep abreast of much of the refereed veterinary literature by regular keyword searches.  Using Cornell Consultant, you can obtain a current list of clinically relevant journal articles of specific diseases in which you are interested.

    [Return to Contents List]

    Recommended Non-veterinary Reading:

    A useful question to ask the leaders and shakers of the profession is "what non-veterinary books have you read that changed how you do things and that you would recommend to veterinary students interested in livestock production agriculture?".  If a book appears on several lists, read it!:

    List moved to Recommended Non-veterinary Reading in Agricultural Veterinarian Business Information Resources

    [Return to Contents List]

    Software Collections


    [Return to Contents List]

    Trade Journals & Websites:

    Trade journals and websites are what your clients are seeing. They often contain regular columns written by high-profile veterinarians, articles on animal health, and much advertising for veterinary products. Your clients expect you to have knowledge in the area that is covered by those columns or articles and may ask you about them, particularly if they perceive that the recommendation of the expert in the magazine is different from yours. You should be aware that often articles about the successful use of a product are often written by the company marketing the product and supplied to the magazine, which then puts a staffer's byline on it.

    These journals and websites also address the current problems facing the industry so reading them is a good way to keep up on what is impacting your clients in other areas of their business or is likely to impact them in the future. If you are not familiar with an industry, reading their trade journals is a good way to become familiar with it.

    The following is a list of some of these magazines and websites by species.



    Beef: Dairy:



    [Return to Contents List]

    Other Internet Resources:

    Physical Therapy:

    Repetitive motion injury and limb trauma are large animal practicerisks. Specific physical therapy is often prescribed as part of recovery from such injuries. By balancing muscles across vulnerable joints, such exercises reduce the likelihood of their occurrence. The following are several examples of physical therapy books providing focused exercises:

    • Dinubile, Nicholas, & William Patrick (2005). Framework: Your 7-step program for health muscles, bones, and joints - Amazon
    • Hisey, Stephen (2005). Fit to Fish: How to tackle angling injuries - Amazon
    • Vickery, Steve, & Marilyn Moffat (1999). The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair - Amazon
      • APTA - American Physical Therapy Association


    Food for Thought:

    Dairy Cattle Necropsy Manual - CSU

    History Channel Farming Technology

    Ag in the Classroom

    Agricultural calculators

    International Agriculture:

    • Lukefahr SD (1999). Teaching international animal agriculture. J Anim Sci 77(11):3106-13.

    Digital communication innovation continues changing how veterinarians access and exchange information. Instead of being isolated from your fellow practitioners, you can rapidly share information with others that have similar practice interests. The following are recent examples of developing social networking software:

    [Return to Contents List]

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