By Jamie Rieger
A week or so ago as I was watching late night news, an interesting story about how to determine bug activity in the soil was being broadcast and piqued my attention.
A couple months ago, and in conjunction with Soil Conservation Week, farmers were being encouraged to bury their cotton underpants into tilled and non-tilled fields to determine soil health and the time has come to unbury them and find out just how healthy things are out there.
So, I sat there watching as a researcher dug up a pair of holey underwear and boasted about how healthy the soil must be, based on the holey nature of the ginch. If the soil is healthy and alive with living organisms, there should not be much left of the tighty whities.
The Soil Your Undies project was first initiated in Ontario through the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario and has now gone national through the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, in partnership with Stanfield’s (of course!).
The key is to bury 100% cotton underwear within the top six inches of the soil, with the waistband showing. And, you don’t bury just one pair, but several pairs in different locations based on soil type, rotation, and management.
If you plan on embarking on this little experiment, it would be wise to only use new, clean underwear. You wouldn’t want to contaminate the soil.
After eight weeks, carefully remove what is left of the cotton garments and wash them in a bucket of water.
Upon further research into this project, I learned that other agriculture entities have thrown their support behind it and also encouraged people to get involved with the ‘Soil Your Undies’ campaign.
What I have yet to find out is how much taxpayer money has gone into this initiative, which is a great marketing ploy by Stanfield, by the way.
It may also be too soon to determine whether this is a more accurate test than what the farmers already do to test the health of their fields.
And, why wasn’t this listed on the annual Farming Smarter field tour agenda? I must remember to ask Cypress County Ag. fieldman, Jason Storch this question.