Cover Crop Program 

 

Program Highlights:

New • Receive up to $100/acre to plant traditional cover crops ($45/acre base payment and up to $55/acre in
add-on planting incentives)
• Receive $25/acre to plant cover crops for harvest; $35/acre if rye is used as the cover crop
• No acreage caps
• Farmers select which acres to harvest in spring
• Use one application to apply for both traditional and harvested cover crop programs
Cover crop contractor’s directory available

Why Plant Cover Crops

Attractive reimbursement rates, easy enrollment and consistent funding have made the Maryland Department of Agriculture's Cover Crop Program a popular conservation choice for Maryland farmers. Last year, the program provided cost-share support for Maryland farmers to plant over 400,000 acres of cover crops on their farms to control soil erosion, reduce nutrient runoff and protect water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. It was the largest cover crop planting in the program’s history and will go a long way toward helping Maryland meet tough new pollution caps for the Bay. Small grains such as wheat, rye and barley are planted as cover crops in the fall to improve the soil, recover unused plant nutrients remaining in crop fields and act as a ground cover to keep the soil from washing away during the winter, when the soil would otherwise be exposed. Maryland’s Cover Crop Program provides farmers with grants to plant cover crops on their fields immediately following the summer crop harvest. This year, farmers who plant traditional cover crops receive a base rate of $45/acre and up to $55/acre in add-on incentives for using highly valued planting practices. Harvested cover crops qualify for $25/acre with a bonus payment of $10/acre if rye is used as the cover crop. Certain restrictions apply.

Sign-up Dates

June 21 – July 15, 2011 at soil conservation district (SCD) offices.

Guidelines and Conditions

• Use one application to apply for traditional and harvested options.
• Cover crops may follow a corn, soybean, sorghum, tobacco or vegetable harvest.
• The planting deadline is November 5, 2011. Early planting incentives are available to farmers who plant their cover crops in October.
• Acres enrolled in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service cover crop program may qualify for additional MDA incentives.
• Rye, wheat, barley, canola, rapeseed, kale, ryegrass, spring oats, triticale, and forage radish may be used as cover crops.
• All seed purchased for cover crops must be tested and properly labeled in accordance with Maryland Seed Law and Regulations.
• Seed must be free of prohibited noxious weed seeds, have a minimum germination rate of 80 percent and have no more than 16 restricted noxious weeds per pound.
• If homegrown seed is used, it must be tested prior to planting for purity, germination and noxious weeds by either the Maryland or Delaware State Seed Laboratory.
• Cost-share for seed testing is provided at 50 percent (up to $15). The current year’s seed tag for all purchased seed must be attached to the fall certification.
• Certain restrictions for manure use in the fall apply; eligibility for incentive payments may be affected.
• Applicants must be in good standing with MACS and in compliance with nutrient management requirements.

Traditional Cover Crops

Traditional cover crops may not be harvested, but may be grazed or chopped for on-farm livestock forage after becoming well established. Kill-down/suppression may take place any time after March 1, 2012, but no later than June 1, 2012. Traditional cover crops qualify for add-on incentive payments if certain environmental guidelines are met.

• Base Payment: $45/acre with add-on incentives for using highly valued planting practices (see payment chart below)
• Acreage Cap: None
• Manure Use: Yes, under special circumstances
• Certification with SCD: Within one week of planting and no later than November 11, 2011
• Killdown/Suppression: Between March 1 and June 1, 2012

           
Traditional Cover Crop
Payment Options
No-Till
Conventional

Broadcast with Light,
Minimum
or Vertical Tillage
Aerial

Broadcast Stalk Chop

 

Base Payment* $45/acre $45/acre $45/acre $50/acre

$45/acre
Plant by October 1, add:
or
Plant by October 15, add:

$20/acre

$10/acre

$10/acre

$5/acre

$10/acre

$5/acre

$0

$0

$0

$0

Plant fields where manure was used in fall, add:
or
Plant fields where manure was used in spring, add:

 

$0/acre

 

$10/acre

$5/acre

 

$10/acre

$5/acre

 

$10/acre

$0


 

$10/acre

$0

 

$10/acre

Plant in field with previous corn or vegetable crop, add:

$5/acre

$5/acre

$5/acre

$5/acre

$5/acre

Plant rye, add: $10/acre $10/acre

$10/acre

$10/acre

$10/acre

Farm located in targeted watershed, add:

$10/acre

$10/acre

$10/acre

$10/acre

$10/acre

Maximum Amount Payable

$100/acre

$90/acre

$90/acre

$85/acre

$80/acre

Harvested Cover Crops

This program option is available to farmers who want to harvest their cover crops. Farmers should provide their best estimate of acres they plan to harvest on their applications.

• Payment: $25/acre (Plus a $10/acre bonus if rye is planted as the cover crop)
• Acreage Cap: None
• Fertilizer Application: After March 1, 2012
• Certification with SCD: Within one week of planting and no later than November 11, 2011

The 2011-2012 Cover Crop Program is administered by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program (MACS) and funded by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund.

 

Soil Conservation Districts

 

Allegany (301) 777-1747, ext. 3
Anne Arundel (410) 571-6757
Baltimore County (410) 527-5920, ext. 3
Calvert (410) 535-1521, ext. 3
Caroline (410) 479-1202, ext. 3
Carroll (410) 848-8200, ext. 3
Catoctin (301) 695-2803, ext. 3
Cecil (410) 398-4411, ext. 3
Charles (301) 934-9588, ext. 3
Dorchester (410) 228-5640, ext. 3
Frederick (301) 695-2803, ext. 3
Garrett (301) 334-6951
Harford (410) 838-6181, ext. 3
Howard (410) 489-7987
Kent (410) 778-5150, ext. 3
Montgomery (301) 590-2855
Prince George's (301) 574-5162, ext. 3
Queen Anne's (410) 758-3136, ext. 3
St. Mary's (301) 475-8402, ext. 3
Somerset (410) 651-1575, ext. 3
Talbot (410) 822-1577, ext. 3
Washington (301) 797-6821, ext. 3
Wicomico (410) 546-4777, ext. 3
Worcester (410) 632-5439, ext. 3