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MARYLAND'S 2022-2023 COVER CROP PROGRAM

Carroll County Farm in June MDA

PLEASE NOTE: 

THE 2022-2023 COVER CROP SIGN-UP IS NOW CLOSED. 
WELCOME MAILERS WILL BE SENT TO APPROVED FARMERS SHORTLY.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT.​


OUR ANNUAL COVER CROP SIGN-UP
​This year's cover crop sign-up runs from July 1 through July 18, 2022. This is your opportunity to apply for grants to help pay for seed, labor, and equipment costs to plant cover crops in your fields this fall. 


WHY COVER CROPS?
Cover crops are your first line of defense against erosion and runoff in winter. Want to improve your soil's health? Check out this triple play of benefits:
  • ​Cover crops add organic matter to the soil. 
  • Cover crops help suppress weeds and reduce compaction
  • Cover crops protect fields from too much or too little rain
MAIL IN ENROLLMENT 
  • This year's enrollment will be conducted entirely by mail.
  • Please complete the application (under Cover Crop Forms and Resources at right) and mail it to your local soil conservation district. A list of soil conservation​ district addresses is also posted under this heading.
  • Applications must be postmarked between July 1 and July 18, 2022. ​
WHAT'S NEW THIS YEAR
  • ​The base rate for incorporated seed has been raised to $55/acre.
  • The incentive payment to plant rye and mixed species has increased to $15/acre.​​
ADDITIONAL 2022-2023 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS 
  • ​Incorporated seed qualifies for a $10/acre early planting incentive.
  • Aerial seed or aerial ground seed cover crops into standing corn on or before September 10, 2022 to qualify for a $10/acre incentive payment.
  • Terminate your cover crop after May 1, 2023 to qualify for a $10/acre Extended Season incentive payment.
  • Plant rye or multi-species cover crops for a $15/acre incentive payment.
  • Plant cover crops after corn, soybeans, sorghum, tobacco, vegetables, hemp and millet.

Carroll County Farm in June MDA​ ​


​SEED REQUIREMENTS 
  • All seed purchased must be tested and labeled following Maryland Seed Law and Regulations.
  • Purchased seed must be free of prohibited noxious weed seeds, have a minimum germination rate of 80%, and have no more than 16 restricted noxious
    weeds per pound.
  • Homegrown seed with a germination rate between 65% and 79% may be used. Certain rules apply.
  • Cost-share is available for seed testing.
ELIGIBLE COVER CROP SPECIES  
  • Cereal Grains: Wheat/Spelt, Rye, Barley, Triticale, Oats, and Ryegrass
  • Brassicas: Forage Radish and Canola/Rape
  • Legumes: Clover, Austrian Winter Peas and Hairy Vetch (must be planted with a cereal grain as part of a mix)
COVER CROP MIXES 
  • ​Two-species cover crop mixes may be planted at a rate of 50% cereal grains and 50% brassicas or legumes.
  • Three species mixes (50/25/25) must contain a minimum of 50% eligible cereal grains.
PLANTING TERMINATION DATES AND LATE PLANTING EXTENSIONS  
  • ​Plant cereal grains by November 5, 2022. Some species have earlier deadlines.
  • Mixes containing legumes, forage radish, canola/rape, or oats must be planted by October 1, 2022.
  • The aerial seeding deadline for cover crops is October 10, 2022. Some species have earlier deadlines.
  • Terminate cover crops between March 1 and June 1, 2023. 
  • Cover crops planted from November 6 through November 15 qualify for a reduced flat rate. Seed must be incorporated, the rye incentive is available, and termination must occur after May 1, 2023.​
FALL MANAGEMENT OPTIONS  ​
Eligible cover crops may be grazed or chopped for on-farm livestock forage after becoming well established. Manure may be applied in fall following Maryland’s nutrient management regulations. 

CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT
To receive payment, farmers must certify cover crops with their soil conservation district within one week of planting and no later than November 14, 2022. Late 
season cover crops planted November 6 through November 15 must be certified by November 22, 2022.

PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY
  • ​You must be in good standing with the Conservation Grants Program and in compliance with Maryland’s nutrient management requirements.
  • You must submit a current Nutrient Management Plan Certification with your application. Forms are available under Cover Crop Forms and Resources at right.
  • Additional restrictions may apply.
FIND A CONTRACTOR TO PLANT YOUR COVER CROP
Check out our Contractors Directory for a list of contractors who can plant cover crops in your fields this fall.

The Cover Crop Program is funded by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. See your soil conservation district representative or contract for details.​​​​​​​​​​

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