Cover your options
Choose from two management options – traditional or harvested cover crops. Traditional cover crops receive a base rate of $45 per acre plus up to $55 per acre in add-on incentives for using highly valued planting practices. These crops may not be harvested, but can be grazed or chopped for livestock forage for on-farm use after becoming well established.
Harvested cover crops qualify for $25 per acre with a bonus payment of $10 per acre if rye is used as the cover crop.
You may fill out one application to enroll in both program options. No enrollment caps, But certain restrictions apply. Applicants must be in good standing with the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program to participate and be in compliance with the Nutrient Management Program.
What's a cover crop?
By Maryland definition, cover crops are cereal grains and winter annual brassicas (plants in the cabbage family) that are planted to take up nutrients remaining in/on the soil after harvest of corn, soybeans, sorghum, tobacco or vegetables. Barley, canola, rapeseed, kale, rye, ryegrass, forage radish, spring oats, triticale and wheat planted this fall are eligible.
You may use saved seed. But all seed used is required to meet Maryland Seed Law and Regulatory Standards and have a minimum germination rate of 80%.
For more on cover crop strengths and weaknesses, see "Move to mixes for maximum benefits with cover crops" in the March issue of American Agriculturist, or click here .