Holstein-Friesian cattle are the predominant breed of dairy cattle in Northern Ireland. Breeding programmes for the Holstein Friesian have focused on improved milk production with little emphasis on functional traits such as fertility or disease resistance. In contrast Norwegian dairy cattle have been bred via a multi-trait selection procedure and there is evidence that problems associated with disease and fertility have tended to decrease in recent years. It is important, however, to investigate possible differences in efficiency of food use and partitioning of nutrients between the two breeds which may offset the potential advantages of improvements in secondary characteristics. Consequently, the objectives of this experiment were firstly to investigate the effects of breed type on the efficiency of utilization and partitioning of nutrients for milk production and secondly to investigate if there are differences in the energy requirement for maintenance and the efficiency of utilization of ME for lactation (kl) between the two breeds.