Increasing phosphorus (P) fertilizer use efficiency in grassland is desirable, since uncertainty exists over the reserves of finite phosphate rock and its future availability. This necessitates revaluation of the current P fertilizer recommendations for grassland to examine the potential to increase fertilizer P efficiency. The present paper reports results from a long-term grassland P experiment (17 years) on two sites in which annual P fertilizer application rates were 0, 15, 30 and 45 kg P/ha/year. The effect of P fertilizer rate on herbage production and mineral concentration in herbage were investigated in addition to the soil test P (Morgan's) trends and P balance over the duration of the experiment for each rate of P fertilizer. The results showed that the P response to herbage yield and P concentration was similar on both sites. The response of herbage yield to P fertilizer was limited to harvests early in the growing season. The P concentration in herbage was lower in mid-season than in spring or autumn. Annual P fertilizer applications > 30 kg P/ha/year were required to maintain soil P levels at their initial levels over the duration of the experiment.