Legumes fix atmospheric nitrogen (N) in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria. For this reason, although legume crops can be low yielding and less profitable when compared with cereals, they are frequently included in crop rotations. Grain legumes form only a minor part of most human diets, and legume crops are greatly underutilized. Food security and soil fertility could be significantly improved by greater grain legume usage and increased improvement of a range of grain legumes. One limitation for the use of legumes as a source of N input into agricultural systems is the fact that the formation of N-fixing nodules is suppressed when soils are replete with n. In this review, we report what is known about this process and how soil N supply might be sensed and feed back to regulate nodulation.