Groups of cattle were vaccinated either with BCG Pasteur by the intratracheal or subcutaneous route or with killed Mycobacterium vaccae by the intradermal route and challenged intratracheally 54 days later with Mycobacterium bovis. Vaccination with BCG resulted in fewer animals developing tuberculous lesions and in a reduction in the number of lesions in the diseased animals compared with the unvaccinated group and the group vaccinated with M vaccae. None of the nine animals vaccinated intratracheally with BCG developed any tuberculous lung lesions after challenge with M bovis, but two of the nine animals from each of the groups dosed subcutaneously with low and medium doses of BCG developed lung lesions. There was little difference in protection against the M bovis challenge between the animals receiving the low dose (10(3) colony forming units, cfu) or medium dose (10(5) cfu) of subcutaneous BCG, but the medium dose of BCG produced stronger cell-mediated immune responses to bovine purified protein derivative (PPD) after vaccination. Vaccination intradermally with 10(9) heat-killed M vaccae did not protect cattle against an experimental challenge with M bovis and induced only weak cell-mediated immune responses to bovine PPD.