A 6 x 6 Latin square design was used to test the effects of recombinant bovine placental lactogen on milk yield, milk composition, feed intake, and blood hormone and metabolite levels in nonpregnant lactating cows. The six treatments (5, 10, 20, and 40 mg/d of placental lactogen, water as negative control, and 20 mg/d of bST as positive control) were administered by subcutaneous injection twice daily for 9 d. Blood samples were taken during the last 5 d of the treatment period. The three highest doses of placental lactogen increased milk yield, and there was a linear dose effect, although placental lactogen was less potent than bST. Milk concentrations of lactose, protein, and fat were not altered by any of the treatments. Dry matter intake was increased by two of the doses of placental lactogen, but not by bST. Blood urea N concentration was decreased in a dose-dependent manner by placental lactogen and was also decreased by bST. Similarly, serum insulin-like growth factor-I was increased in a dose-dependent manner by placental lactogen and was also increased by bST. Plasma concentrations of NEFA and glucose were increased by bST, but placental lactogen had little or no effect on either of these parameters. Thus, placental lactogen appears to act, in part, as a weak somatotropin agonist; however, it also appears to have specific activities, e.g., stimulating feed intake.