There are many different factors that can contribute to a liner’s performance and, with the variety of brands and models out there, it could be as difficult as finding your next car. Today, you can choose shapes ranging from round to triangle to square – and even hybrid shapes in between.

Throw in a handful of material choices, different sizing options and a few philosophies on venting, and you have a lot to think about. It’s an important decision: Something as small as a liner has the potential to impact many keys to success on your farm, including milk quality, animal health, work efficiency and profitability.

When it comes down to it, the optimum liner design balances a handful of competing goals: teat treatment, milking speed, liner life, liner grip and strip yield.

Oftentimes, a design trait that focuses on one goal might have an adverse effect on another, so it is important to make sure, for example, a liner claiming to milk the fastest does not result in higher strip yields. All things considered, an exceptionally performing liner is designed so the sum of its design traits does not negatively affect one of the major goals.

So how do you choose? The best liner design fits your expectations, equipment and, arguably most importantly, your herd. When trying to find the right liner, make sure your priorities are clear.


Do you want to get more cows through the barn in a day? Do you want to achieve a more complete milkout? Maybe you want to reduce liner slips, or your goal is improving teat condition.

On the other hand, you might have a more qualitative measure for finding the right liner. Understanding which benefits are most important to you and your dairy will help you narrow down your choices. If you are looking for a quieter milking environment, less work for the milkers and reduced opportunity for mastitis, a liner touting low slipping and squawking might be the best choice for you.

Perhaps the most important thing for you would be the benefit of being able to spend more time with the family at the end of the day, so a liner focusing on faster milking is for you.

In the end, the most fundamental aspect in finding the right liner for your dairy is the expert you work with. A knowledgeable dealer combined with their expertise behind installation and setup of that liner is a sure recipe for success.

No matter what, a liner cannot just be incorporated into a parlor without careful inspection of the system and consideration of the factors most important to the farm’s performance. Every dairy is different, and it takes someone who is trained and knows what they are doing to make it run as close to perfectly as possible, no matter the design.  end mark

Sarah Tolleson is the liners, tubes and farm supplies solution manager with DeLaval.

Analyze your liner priorities

Analyze your liner priorities using the questions below, and keep the answers handy for your next conversation with your service tech.

What are your current problems in the parlor?

  1. Teat-end health (look for a shaped liner)

  2. Slow throughput (maybe a round liner is for you, or a liner with a lower mouthpiece vacuum)

  3. I have to change my liner too frequently (maybe a different material is right for you)

  4. I would like to see my service tech more (look for a liner with a shorter life so your service tech is in front of you more often with recommendations and tips)

  5. My liners are slipping (look for a tapered liner or one with a stiffer mouthpiece lip)

  6. My milk is slugging in the liner (maybe a larger short milk tube is right for you)

Which is a greater concern?

  1. Teat-end health
  2. Milking speed
  3. Both

Which has a greater impact on your buying decision?

  1. Quality
  2. Cost
  3. Both

What is your number one priority in the parlor?

  1. Milking speed

  2. Low slipping and squawking

  3. Complete milkout

  4. Trick question – the number one priority should be the comfort and health of the cow

What is the average milk production per cow per day of your herd, and does it match the capability of your liners?

  1. Lower to average production (may successfully utilize smaller-diameter liner short milk tubes and no liner vents)

  2. Average to high production (may successfully utilize larger-diameter liner short milk tubes, with or without vents)

Is the average teat size in your herd consistent with the manufacturer’s stated capability of your liner?

Is the best liner you have found for your herd compatible with your current milking equipment?

Will purchasing new, compatible milking equipment for my chosen liner pay back in an acceptable amount of time?