In an experiment, carried out over 3 years, two groups of dairy cows offered ad libitum access to grass silage received 8 kg/day concentrate differing only in phosphorus content (low P concentrate: 4·0–4·5 g/kg dry matter (D.M.); high P concentrate: 6·0–6·5 g/kg D.M.) during the winter feeding period of approximately 6 months. During the summer period all animals were grazed together on perennial ryegrass pastures. There were no consistent significant effects of P content on any of the variables measured. The mean calving indices were 371 (S.E. = 3·71, n = 122) and 379 (S.E. = 4·28, n = 95) days and overall conception rates were 0·70 and 0·68 for the low and high P treatments, respectively. Mean plasma P concentrations during the winter period were significantly reduced (P > 0·01 or greater) in years 2 and 3 of the study on the low P treatment. In 1 year milk yield was significantly higher (P > 0·01) on the low P treatment although the fat content was significantly reduced (P > 0·05) but these effects were not recorded in the other 2 years.