Impressions of sow overgrown toes on U.S. farms: What environmental-based factors are driving this?

  • Derek Henningsen (ISU)
  • Jennifer Bundy (Iowa State University)
  • Anna K. Johnson (Iowa State University)
  • Kenneth J Stalder (Iowa State University)
  • Marta Mainenti
  • Locke A. Karriker (Iowa State University)


The purpose of this study was to poll farm managers regarding the environmental-based factors that may drive overgrown toes on-farm. All survey questions were self-reported by the participants. There was a total of 20 questions, which were separated into 6 different categories: farm demographics, flooring, sow characteristics, lameness, incidence of overgrown toes, and removal reason. The top 20 swine producing companies were chosen as potential survey participants by utilizing the Successful Farming Exclusive: Top 40 U.S. Pork Powerhouse List of 2020. Data will be presented descriptively (numbers and percentages). A total of 63 surveys (that encompassed 275,000 gilts and sows) were received. Half of the responses noted both types of gestation housing were used, and similarly, most used partial slatted flooring. The vast majority of participants reported that lactating sow flooring was cast iron. Over 75% of the participants reported that the gestation floors were “dry”. Just over 90% noted that their flooring had less than 25% fecal matter on the surface. Collectively, these reports provide a current inventory of what type of housing style, flooring material, and flooring conditions are in modern U.S. sow farms.

Keywords: swine, welfare, environment

How to Cite:

Henningsen, D., Bundy, J., Johnson, A. K., Stalder, K. J., Mainenti, M. & Karriker, L. A., (2024) “Impressions of sow overgrown toes on U.S. farms: What environmental-based factors are driving this?”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 20(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/air.16938

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Published on
01 Apr 2024
Peer Reviewed
Public Domain