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Deadline for seeding of cover crops now Oct. 8
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Oct. 4, 2016) — Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has extended the Oct. 1 aerial seeding and aerial ground seeding deadline for farmers who signed up with the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program to plant cover crops on their fields this fall to reduce nutrient runoff, control soil erosion and protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Farmers now have until Oct. 8 to aerially seed or aerially ground seed their cover crops using high clearance broadcast seeders.
Only the following cover crop species are eligible for this extension: barley, rye, wheat, and triticale. Farmers must certify their cover crop acreage with the local soil conservation district by Oct. 14 in order to be reimbursed for associated seed, labor and equipment costs.
“Due to fog and wind, aerial applicators have been unable to safely seed cover crop fields during the last several weeks,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Extending the planting deadline will allow farmers to plant more acres of cover crops on their fields and achieve greater water quality benefits for streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.”
Cover crops are cereal grains that grow in cool weather.
They help slow down rainwater runoff during the winter, when the soil would otherwise be exposed, while recycling any nutrients remaining in the soil from the preceding summer crop.
Earlier this summer, Maryland farmers signed up to plant a record 691,743 acres of cover crops this fall.
Maryland farmers have exceeded every Chesapeake Bay milestone goal for cover crops and are on track to exceed the next two-year milestone in 2017 with this record enrollment acreage.
Cover crops are one of the most cost-effective means of helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
Maryland’s Cover Crop program is funded by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund.
For additional information on the Cover Crop Program, farmers should visit their local soil conservation district or contact the MACS office at 410-841-5864.