1. Measurements of digestible energy intake, live growth and carcass measurements were conducted with 96 individually housed pigs (48 male and 48 female) given the same diet at four feeding levels (ad libitum; Agricultural Research Council daily digestible energy intake (C); C–12·5%; and C–25% daily digestible energy intake. The pigs were slaughtered at one of six live weights (45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120 kg).
2. Prediction equations of average daily live-weight gain and introscope P2 backfat thickness on the hot carcass (hot P2) were developed as functions of average daily digestible energy intake for males and females at varying live weights. The relationships found were 20·8 g live-weight gain per MJ digestible energy intake and 0·81 mm hot P2 backfat thickness per MJ digestible energy intake from 25 to 90 kg live weight.
3. Compared with feeding level C, C –25% produced no difference in feed conversion ratio, reduced shoulder maximum, mid-back and loin minimum backfat thickness by 6–8 mm (14–4%), 4–2 mm (168%) and 4–1 mm (17–5%) respectively (P<0·01) and increased eye-muscle area by 2908mm2 (10·9%).
4. Compared with females, males reached slaughter weight 9·4 days earlier, increased daily live-weight gain by 64g, increased feed conversion ratio by 0·3, had 1·6mm less hot P2 backfat thickness, had less backfat at all mid-line positions and showed no difference in eye-muscle area.