Tim Jennings of the South Kinni Watershed area showed two pairs of innards in nearby fields under similar management.  The photo on the left has had 2 years of no work and the photo on the right has had 8 years of no work.

Across northwestern Wisconsin, farmers in four local watershed councils volunteered to participate in a light contest aimed at turning heads and crudely measuring soil biological activity.

The Soil Your Undies challenge is pretty simple: Bury a pair of underwear in the spring in a field, then let soil microbes work on them for 50 to 60 days. Cotton in underwear, being a natural fiber, is able to decompose quickly at that time, but they need a lot of microbial activity to break down. Fortunately, we’ve had a bountiful harvest of some super dirty Hanes.

Between May 25 and June 17, 30 pairs of underwear were planted in 4 counties. Those pairs were excavated between July 22 and August 3. Field planting history and tillage were all noted at planting time.

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