Due to a late harvest and adverse weather conditions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is extending the 2021 H2Ohio Program deadline for planting overwintering cover crops, including those following small grains, and manure incorporation.
H2Ohio producers enrolled in any of the 24-county area will have until November 1, 2021, to plant their overwintering cover crops and complete all manure incorporation requirements.
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%.
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 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.