1. Two experiments are described in which castrated Ayrshire cattle were reared on a conventional all-concentrate diet to 250 kg live weight. In Experiment 1 the effect of feeding a 1: 1 mixture (by weight) of barley and wet distiller's grains (WDG) from 250 to 408 kg live weight was examined. In Experiment 2 swedes and grass silage were offered in addition to WDG and barley during the growth phase from 250 kg live weight to slaughter. In both experiments a control group was fed an all-concentrate diet. 2. The introduction of WDG to the diet (Experiment 1) caused a significantly lower daily live-weight gain (P < 0·01) and an increase i n time to slaughter (P < 0·01). Carcasses from the control and treated animals were similar in weight, conformation and composition. There were no differences in growth rates in Experiment 2. The treated animals were heavier (P < 0·01) and older at slaughter (P < 0·001) than those in the control group and they produced heavier carcasses (P < 0·05). The carcasses were similar in composition but some differences in conformation occurred. These effects were the consequence of selecting animals for slaughter on the basis of equal finish (i.e. the ratio of muscle plus fat to bone assessed subjectively). 3. The effect of reducing the dietary energy concentration appears t o be smaller with cattle over 250 kg live weight than with younger, lighter cattle. The results, which are discussed in economic terms, suggest that castrated Ayrshire cattle reared on all-concentrate diets should be changed to a diet of lower energy concentration using cheaper feed sources at 250 kg live weight.