Exogenous insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I has been shown to increase growth rate in neonatal pigs while an analogue of IGF-I, long arginine (LR3) IGF-I, has been shown to be more potent than IGF-I in the rat. Therefore, two studies were conducted to determine whether IGF-I and LR3IGF-I increase growth in the artificially-reared neonatal pig. Expt 1 involved forty-two (2 kg initial weight) pigs infused with either control, IGF-I (2, 4 or 8 μg/h) or LR3IGF-I (2, 4 or 8 μg/h) infusions for 8 d. Pigs were weighed and then offered 1·7 MJ (gross energy) milk replacer/kg0·75 per d. Expt 2 involved eighteen pigs (2 kg initial weight) treated with control saline, IGF-I (8 μg/h) or LR3IGF-I (8 μg/h) infusions. After 9 d an additional pump was inserted to increase the infusion rates of each of the growth factors (16 μg/h) for a further 9 d. Cows' milk was provided ad libitum. In Expt 1 there was no overall effect of growth factors on daily weight gain or slaughter weight. However, milk intake was greater in pigs infused with growth factors (909 v. 867 g/d, P=0·027), with an apparently greater milk intake by the pigs infused with IGF-I compared with LR3IGF-I (920 v. 898 g/d, P=0·12). Infusion of LR3IGF-I decreased plasma IGF-I concentrations, but had no effect on plasma IGF-II concentrations. In Expt 2, neither IGF-I nor LR3IGF-I infusion had any effect upon daily weight gain over the first 9 d of the study. However, over the second 9 d of the study, daily weight gain was increased in LR3IGF-I-infused pigs (457 v. 386 g/d, P<0·01), but not in pigs infused with IGF-I (413 v. 386 g/d, P=0·15). Milk intake was not different during the first 9 d of the study but was significantly greater in pigs infused with growth factors over the second half of the study (3407 v. 2905 g/d, P<0·01). Plasma IGF-binding protein-3 concentrations were highly correlated (R=0·85) with average daily gain over the 3 d preceding blood sampling. In conclusion, exogenous IGF-I and particularly LR3IGF-I can increase growth rate and milk intake in artificially-reared pigs fed ad libitum but not in limit-fed piglets.