This year, farmers from AHDB’s Monitor Farm programme have been burying their pants to help them find out about their soil health.
A simple visual experiment, once dug up the condition of the cotton underwear reveals the level of soil microbial activity and can be used to pinpoint ways to improve soil health.
Brian Barker and Russell McKenzie, Stowmarket and Huntingdon Monitor Farm hosts, will bring their findings (and their pants) to Cereals 2017 to feature in a debate held on the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds stand.
At 11:30am on both days of the event, Mr Barker and Mr McKenzie will lead farmers in soil health discussions based on their pants experiences.
The debate will discuss the effect of different establishment methods, worm numbers, cover crops and more. They will look at which field on the farm worked best and whether burying pants changed their management practices.
Mr Barker farms at Lodge Farm near Stowmarket, Suffolk and has hosted an AHDB Monitor Farm since 2014. He was one of the pioneers of pants-burying in the UK, having found out about a similar experiment in Ontario, Canada.
He buried his first set of pants in the autumn last year and has been repeating the experiment throughout the season. “Our soil is at the mercy of our tillage equipment. The over-winter plough field pants were virtually intact, compared to the over-winter cover crop field pants which were completely shredded.”