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

So, how serious is the infection threat? Of the 300 cows studied, nearly half of all teats stayed open during the first week of dry off. In addition, nearly 23 percent of all teats failed to close six weeks after dry off. Cows that had 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 open longer than three weeks.