Healthy Soil Will Eat Your Underwear

How healthy is your soil? If you want to know all you have to do is bury your underwear, says Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) soil management specialist Adam Hayes.

Last summer, Hayes helped members of the Renfrew County Soil and Crop Improvement Association bury underwear in their fields to determine the amount of biological activity in their soils. They buried cotton briefs six to eight inches deep in the soil in late May and then dug them up in early August.

In this interview, recorded this week at the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) annual meeting in London, Hayes explains that healthy soils teeming with bacteria, fungi and earthworms will eat and devour your cotton briefs, but they suffer much less damage in soils with lower levels of biological activity.

Related: What Underwear Can or Cannot Tell You About Soil Health

Hayes encourages farmers to bury underwear in their fields to assess soil health. He recommends farmers watch the Soil Your Undies Cotton Test video produced by the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario for tips on how to run the experiment on their farm.

 

 

Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.

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