1. Herbage was harvested from a single pasture in early June and late August of the same year and was preserved by freeze-drying. The June herbage contained more water-soluble carbohydrate than that cut in August but in other respects, including chemical and botanical composition and the apparent digestibility of organic matter and nitrogen, differences between the herbages were small.
2. The June herbage was given to a mature ewe during eight periods each of about 4 weeks' duration, and the August herbage was given during nine periods. The level of feeding varied between periods from about 0·35 to 1·5 times the maintenance level; in addition the fasting metabolism of the sheep was determined on three occasions. Gross energy intakes and the losses of energy in faeces, urine, methane and as heat were measured in each period.
3. The metabolisable energy of the June herbage was utilised more efficiently than that of the August herbage for fattening, and probably for maintenance also. It is suggested that this result stemmed from the difference in soluble carbohydrate content which was lower in the August material. The cellulose of that herbage was digested to a significantly greater extent, a larger proportion of the gross energy was lost as methane, and the ruminai volatile fatty acids, included a significantly lower proportion of propionic acid.