To accurately match feeding requirements to the sow or gilt, a body weight estimate is not only helpful, it’s a must, according to Kansas State University swine nutritionists. Now, the university’s Research and Extension group has developed a way to make accurate sow weight estimates quick and easy.
They have developed a cloth tape that you can use to quickly estimate sow weights. The “flank-to-flank” measurement is taken at a point immediately in front of the back legs, then move from the point of one flank (left) and reach over the back of the sow to the point of the other flank (right). Each section on the tape corresponds to a weight group. Because body weight is important in determining the daily feed allotment for each sow, it’s helpful to measure a high percentage of sows.

Once you know the sow’s weight group, you can then go to the ASI Web site at to zero in on her dietary needs. Based on the weight reading that the tape provides, you can determine the amount of feed to give to a specific female.

The Kansas State Sow Weight tape is available for $5 each by calling (785) 532-1267 or by sending an e-mail to