Designing an Objective Static Force Plate to Measure Severity of Lameness in Multi-Parity Sows

Authors: , , , , , ,


Lameness is a major reason for culling sows from the commercial breeding herds. Stalder reported that sows culled for feet, leg, and locomotion disorders ranged between 6 to 15 %. In the U. S., commercial sow farms evaluate lameness using subjective methods. An objective and standardize method for assigning lameness scores to a sow would likely be more accurate than subjective scoring measures and provide producers with a useful tool to assess lameness. Therefore, the objective of this study was to design and build a static force plate to measure weight distribution on four legs of a standing sow. Faculty and students in Animal Science, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine developed a static force plate system with automated characteristics to objectively detect lameness in sows. The static force plate system has many advantages over other alternative systems. The static force plate is made of durable materials, is accurate, fits gestation or farrowing stalls, and can measure the weight placed on each hoof independently. The static force plate is a practical application for the commercial swine industry and may allow for earlier detection of lameness problems when compared to subjective lameness evaluation. This in turn will allow for more timely treatment or culling of individual sows from the breeding herd.

Keywords: ASL R2628

How to Cite: Elsbernd, A. J. , Johnson, A. K. , Stalder, K. J. , Fitzgerald, R. F. , Karriker, L. A. , Hoff, S. J. & Sun, G. (2011) “Designing an Objective Static Force Plate to Measure Severity of Lameness in Multi-Parity Sows”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report. 8(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ans_air-180814-274