New research shows that proper management of cows at dry-off is more critical than you may have thought. Research presented at the recent National Mastitis Council annual meeting in late January indicates that many teat ends don’t close immediately after dry-off. And the researchers noted that teat ends that stayed open were 1.7 times more likely to develop infections than closed teats ends.

So how serious is the infection threat?  Of the 300 cows studied, nearly half of all teat ends stayed open during the first week of dry off — and almost 23 percent of teat end failed to close six weeks after dry-off. Cows with all four teats closed within the first three weeks of the dry period were 75 percent less likely to develop new intramammary infections than cows with at least one teat end open longer than three weeks.