Thirty male pigs weaned at 5·5 kg were used to determine the effect of diets with 164, 192 and 219 g/kg crude protein offered ad libitum to 20 kg live weight on performance and carcass characteristics during this initial phase of growth and during the period subsequent to 20 kg live weight when all pigs were fed on a diet with 181 g/kg crude protein in restrictive amounts. Between 5·5 and 20 kg live weight, pigs offered the diet with 164 g/kg crude protein grew significantly more slowly and had a significantly poorer food conversion ratio than pigs offered the two higher protein diets. Both linear fat measurement and the proportion of ether extractable material in the carcass at 20 kg live weight decreased significantly with each increase in dietary protein. Pigs offered the 164 g/kg protein diet during the initial treatment period tended to grow faster subsequent to 20 kg and during the live-weight period 20 to 45 kg had a significantly lower food conversion ratio than pigs previously offered the two higher protein diets. Over the entire production period, 5·5 to 70 kg, there were no significant differences between treatments. Likewise there were no significant differences in carcass quality parameters between treatments at 70 kg live weight.