By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

It was recently announced that the H2Ohio Cover Crop BMP planting deadline has been extended to November 1, 2021.  This extension also includes manure incorporation and is only for crop year 2021.

“Due to a late harvest and wet weather conditions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) extended the 2021 H2Ohio Program deadline for planting overwintering cover crops, including those following small grains. This extension also includes manure incorporation and is only for crop year 2021,” said Abby Wensink, Henry County SWCD H2Ohio Support Technician.

H2Ohio producers enrolled in any of the 24-county area of Northwest Ohio will have until November 1, 2021 to plant their overwintering cover crops and complete all manure incorporation requirements.

The ODA recommends to adjust seeding rates to reduce to the risk of planting failure. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Appendix A, seeding rates should be increased by 20%. “If seeding by airplane or broadcast seeding, the 20% rate increase is required,” said Wensink.

For manure incorporation, all H2Ohio practices must be met. Additionally, requirements established in the nutrient management standard (NRCS 590) must be followed. Producers are required to reduce application rates of manure to reflect soil moisture conditions, per NRCS 590. Manure application on wet soils increases the potential for runoff.

“In addition to the planting date extension, farmers can now also enroll new acres and practices for 2022 and 2023,” said Wensink. “If farmers are adding new acres they will need a VNMP with soil tests no more than 4 years old.”

In the first year of the H2Ohio Program, 1,800 farmers enrolled more than 1 million acres of cropland in the targeted 14 counties: Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Defiance, Henry, Wood, Paulding, Putnam, Hancock, Van Wert, Allen, Hardin, Mercer, and Auglaize. With the recent expansion, all 24 counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin are now included in the H2Ohio Program.

Governor DeWine launched H2Ohio in November 2019 as a long-term, data-driven water quality plan to reduce harmful algal blooms, improve wastewater infrastructure, and address lead contamination in Ohio. The initiative is a collaboration involving ODA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Lake Erie Commission and other environmental, agricultural and educational partners. It is the first comprehensive state program that addresses all aspects of water quality.

For more information about the H2Ohio Program or the extended deadline to plant cover crops, please contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.

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