Why long-term leases are a win-win option for farmers and landowners
In the last few years I have heard more and more about the importance of our soil. I have been to many soil workshops telling me how we need to improve the soil, both nutrition wise and the soil structure.
Now I have come across a new soil test called 'soil your underwear'. This involves burying a pair of new cotton underpants in the soil for a minimum of eight weeks.
Leave the waist band above ground but completely bury the rest. After the eight weeks you dig up the underpants and see how much of it is left.
The theory is, that if you have a lot of biological activity in the soil it will break down the cotton and you will have very little left after the eight weeks. If you have very little biological activity in the soil you will have more cotton left.
In our experiment we decided to try three different cotton underpants in three different fields, to see if there was any difference.
The first field was ploughed, got chopped straw and chicken litter. The second field was min tilled, got chopped straw but no chicken litter.
The third field was ploughed, straw was removed and chicken litter. We marked each site with a flag and hoped the two dogs won't dig them up. It will be very interesting to see if there is much or any difference.
I don't expect there to be too much activity in the soil in cold weather so we may have to leave them for longer than the eight weeks.