Abstract Growth components were compared in an experiment with a 2 x 2 factorial design. Eight replicates of Holstein heifers were fed diets based on either alfalfa or corn silage for daily gain of either 725 or 950g from 181 to 334kg of body weight (BW). Mean daily gains from corn diets were greater than gains from alfalfa diets for BW, udder, empty body, fat, fat-free matter, protein, H2O, C, and energy but were less than gains from alfalfa for gut contents and ash. High daily gain produced higher mean values for all of these variables than did lower daily gain. The percentage of protein in fat-free matter was not affected by either main effect. The percentage of fat in empty body gain was increased as daily gain increased. Energy concentration of fat-free matter that was gained was not affected by either diet or daily gain. Energy concentration of empty body gain increased as daily gain increased. The percentage of gut contents in daily BW gain was higher for heifers fed the alfalfa diet than for those fed the corn diet. Energy concentration in daily BW gain was affected by diet and daily gain. Variations of fat and gut contents in daily BW gain must be considered when requirements or expected growth are described.