ANNAPOLIS, Md.  – The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds farmers that December 15 is the last day to spread manure and other organic nutrient sources on cropland. Farmers may resume nutrient applications on March 1 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 to water quality. In these circumstances, farmers must contact the Nutrient Management Program for authorization before any spreading can take place.

Temporary field stockpiling of “stackable” organic nutrient sources with 60 percent or less moisture content is allowed when all other storage options are unavailable. “Stackable” organic nutrient sources should not be applied to fields in winter under any conditions.

Farmers should contact the Nutrient Management Program at (410) 841-5959 if they have storage concerns or questions regarding the regulations. For additional information, visit the program’s website.