Abstract Samples of faeces from 24 commercial piggeries in south-eastern Australia were collected and analysed for nitrogen, gross energy, ether extract, total ash, residual ash, crude fibre, neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre, lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, cadmium, lead and arsenic. In vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) values were also determined. There was wide variability in the concentration of all constituents; IVOMD values ranged from 23 to 69%. Regression analysis implicated fibre components and some minerals as the major factors affecting IVOMD. The data emphasize the need to take into account the chemical characteristics of the waste in assessing its potential for utilization.