The effect of annual 'break' crops on the yield and protein content of wheat was investigated over 3 seasons on a Red Kandasol on the south-western slopes of New South Wales. The 'break' crops included lupin and pea grown for grain, pea and vetch managed for silage, clovers managed for silage or hay, and vetch and clovers managed for green manuring. Wheat was sown for 2 years following the legume year, or canola and wheat followed the legumes. Averaged over 3 experiments the yields of first crop wheat following pea or vetch silage crops were comparable with those after grain pea. Yields following clover forage conservation crops or green manures exceeded those after grain pea by at least 0.41 t/ha; average yield increase after clover green manure was 0.93 t/ha. In one experiment, yields of second crop wheat were greater, by up to 0.37 t/ha, after forage conservation or green manure legume 'breaks' than after grain legumes. In 2 experiments, second crop wheat yields were greater after a first crop of canola than a first crop of wheat. Compared with continuous wheat yield, aggregate mean wheat yield increases were 3.5'4 t/ha following grain legumes, pea, and vetch silage crops, but 5.3'6.3 t/ha following clover forage conservation and green manure crops. However, the relative effects of legume treatments on wheat yield were significantly seasonally dependent. Yield and grain protein variation in wheat after legumes was significantly correlated with variation in mineral N at wheat establishment. However, in one experiment, yield was correlated only with variation in mineral N below the 20-cm soil depth, whereas protein was correlated only with variation in mineral N above the 20 cm soil depth. Yield increases in first crop wheat did not occur at the expense of grain protein.
Evans, J., Scott, G., Lemerle, D., Kaiser, A., Orchard, B., Murray, G., & Armstrong, E. (2003). Impact of legume 'break' crops on the yield and grain quality of wheat and relationship with soil mineral N and crop N content. Crop and Pasture Science, 54(8), 777-788. https://doi.org/10.1071/AR02224