Because of continued rainfall and excessively wet field conditions across most of the state, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced a second extension of the planting deadline for farmers who signed up for grants to plant fall cover crops through the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program.
Farmers now have until Dec. 1 to plant qualifying cover crops of wheat, spelt, rye and triticale in their fields. Farmers who plant their cover crops between Nov. 13 and Dec. 1 still will qualify for financial support through the program, but in order to maximize water quality benefits, suppression or kill down may not take place before May 1, 2021.
The planting extension is only available to farmers who use the following planting methods: no-till, conventional or broadcast with light, minimum or vertical tillage. With the extension, farmers must certify their cover crop with their local soil conservation district within one week of planting and no later than Dec. 8 in order to be reimbursed for associated seed, labor and equipment costs.
Maryland’s cover crop program is administered by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program and the state’s 24 soil conservation districts. Funding is provided by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.
For more information, farmers should contact their local soil conservation district or the MACS office at 410-841-5864.