Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean bacteria will stop growing in stall bedding, says Leo Timms, IowaStateUniversity extension dairy specialist.

Timms cites a University of Minnesota study that showed stall surface was about 92 degrees Fahrenheit — only 8 degrees less than body temperature — when animals were lying on the surface in winter. Bacteria thrive under these conditions, particularly if the bedding is wet.

“Bedding must be maintained and changed at appropriate intervals,” Timms says. This helps keep teats dry, which reduces bacterial exposure and winter teat problems like cracking and chapping.