The state of Maryland set a record for cover crop planting in 2011.
Nearly 430,000 acres in the state were planted with cover crops - which are small grain crops - last year, according to the Star Democrat.
"Our farmers continue to show their leadership in the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts by planting a record number of acres of cover crops, exceeding their two-year goal by 21 percent," Governor Martin O'Malley said.
Talbot County reportedly led the way for the state, planting 47,192 acres of such crops.
Ted Wycall, who owns Greenbranch Organic Farm in Salisbury, told Delmarva Now that cover crops serve a number of functions.
"There are a couple different purposes to cover crops - the main purpose is to prevent soil erosion, but they also help build organic matter and they also help nutrient cycling in the soil," he told the news provider, adding that when a cash crop is not being planted, typically a cover one is.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture predicts that in 2012 cover crops will stop 2.58 million pounds of nitrogen and 86,000 pounds of phosphorus from impacting the Chesapeake Bay, according to the news source.