ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds farmers that the winter ban on spreading manure and other organic nutrient sources on cropland begins December 16. Farmers may resume spreading on March 1, 2022, as long as fields are not saturated, snow-covered, or hard-frozen.

To avoid nutrient losses on farmland and to reduce runoff into waterways, spreading manure in the winter is prohibited by Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations. Liquid manure sources generated on the farm must be stored in structures. The department is authorized to work with farmers to prevent overflows from storage structures in the winter and to minimize impacts on water quality. In these circumstances, farmers must contact the Nutrient Management Program for emergency authorization before any spreading can take place.

Temporary field stockpiling of stackable poultry litter and other organic nutrient sources is allowed as long as the moisture content is 60% or less. Stackable organic nutrient sources should not be applied to fields in winter under any conditions.

Farmers should contact their regional nutrient management specialist if they have storage concerns or questions about the regulations. For more information, please visit the department’s Nutrient Management Program website.

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