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Maryland Extends Cover Crop, Fall Nutrient Application Deadlines to Nov. 15 due to Late Harvest

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 17, 2016) – Due to a late harvest and lack of adequate storage for liquid manure, combined with favorable soil conditions, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has extended the cover crop planting deadline and two key deadlines for nutrient applications this fall.

Cover Crop Program
Farmers who signed up to plant cover crops this fall with the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program now have until November 15, 2016 to plant qualifying small grains to help control soil erosion and recycle unused plant nutrients remaining in their fields following the harvest of summer crops. The extension is only available to farmers who plant wheat, rye or triticale using the following planting methods: no till, conventional, or broadcast with light, minimum or vertical tillage. It does not apply to legume/small grain mixes. Farmers must certify their cover crop acreage with their local soil conservation district by November 18, 2016 in order to be eligible for cost-share to offset associated seed, labor and equipment costs.

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.

Fall Nutrient Applications
On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the deadline for all nutrient applications, including commercial fertilizer and poultry litter, has been extended from November 1 to November 15 to allow farmers more time to fertilize crops that will be planted later this fall. The November 15 deadline is consistent with the nutrient cut-off date that farmers are required follow in all other areas of the state. After this date, farmers will be prohibited from spreading commercial fertilizer and stackable manure on fields until March 1.

To allow farmers extra time to empty their waste storage structures in preparation for winter, the Department also has extended the deadline for the fall application of liquid manure on dairy farms and other livestock operations from November 15 to December 3. After this date, farmers will not be able to spread manure on their fields until March 1. The extension does not apply to dry, stackable manure or poultry litter.

Farmers or nutrient applicators with questions should call their nutrient management consultant or regional nutrient management specialist. The headquarters telephone number is 410-841-5959 and full listing is provided online.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

Megan Guilfoyle
Public Information Officer
Telephone: 410-841-5889

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