Cover crops are widely hailed as an environmentally friendly way to increase soil health and reduce runoff, and Maryland has taken full advantage of their benefits by using ariel application to apply seeds while the original crop is still in the field.
Maryland Soybean Board member, Hans Schmit of Schmidt Farms explains, “Applying the cover crop seeds while the original crop is still in the field allows us to take advantage of seed mixes that produce dual results for soil health.”
Last fall the state of Maryland seeded a record 492,244 acres of cover crops, exceeding the Watershed Implementation Plan milestone goals in 2011, 2013, and 2015. The Maryland Department of Agriculture believes farmers will exceed the next two year milestone in 2017 as well.
For Schmidt Farms cover crops are not a new idea. The family was an early adopter of the practice in the late 1960s. Now the third generation of the family is taking care of the soil and raising 2,000 acres of high oleic soybeans, corn and barley.
“It’s rewarding to grow food for our neighbors, and the larger community,” says Hans. “We all have an influence on the environment. As farmers, we put the safety and health of the environment first. We are not the only farmers doing this, for most, it’s second nature.”