Responses to exogenous growth hormone were measured in lactating dairy cows surgically prepared to allow measurement of nutrient exchanges across mammary and hind-limb muscle tissues. Cows were injected daily with either saline or growth hormone, at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg liveweight, over periods of 6 days. During administration of growth hormone milk yield, milk fat content and yields of milk fat protein and lactose increased. Arterial plasma concentrations of glucose and non-esterified fatty acids were increased, uptake of glucose by leg muscle tissue decreased, lactate release from leg muscle tended to increase, mammary uptake of non-esterified fatty acids increased, blood flow to leg muscle tended to increase and blood flow to mammary tissue increased during injection of growth hormone. The results show that growth hormone affects supply to and utilization of key nutrients by tissues, resulting in the supply to the mammary gland of additional precursors for milk synthesis.