1. Hereford × British Friesian castrate male cattle, growing from about 80 to 500 kg, were given equal amounts of metabolizable energy (ME) from dried grass pellets or from a pelleted diet of barley and a protein supplement. Two animals on each diet were fed close to appetite (High) and two at a level mid-way between maintenance and appetite (Medium). The rations for all animals were reduced to approximately maintenance for 4 weeks on three occasions equally spaced throughout the experiment. Measurements of energy and nitrogen balance were made for each animal at intervals of 6 to 8 weeks. Total body-water content was estimated from D20 dilution at intervals of 110 kg live weight.
2. Values for the metabolizability of the gross energy of the dried grass and barley/protein diets were 0·55 and 0·67.
3. Metabolic heat production during growth was closely related to body weight to the power 0·75. Predicted basal metabolism was 395 kJ/kg 0·75 per 24 hr.
4. Estimates of the net efficiency of utilization of ME for growth were unaffected by small variations in the exponent of W used to describe the effect of body size on heat production. Both diets were utilized above maintenance with a net efficiency close to 0·62.
5. Nitrogen balance trials seriously overestimated nitrogen retention. Gains in fat-free body mass estimated from D2O dilution were combined with calorimetric measurements of energy retention to predict the relationship between energy retention and weight gain. The agreement between observed and predicted live-weight gain was good at the lower body weights and on the lower ration. For fatter animals eating the high ration at higher body weights, live-weight gains were less than predicted.