Fellow rural charity the Country Trust has been asking for more volunteers to pop a pair of underpants in the ground and CRT tenant farmer and trustee, Tim Scott, couldn’t wait to bury his boxers in the name of science.

The underpants in question have to be made of cotton so the microbes in the soil can break down the natural material. We should add that Tim’s pair of white cotton pants also sported a lovely green tractor on the side which, he claims, is what all farmers wear underneath their trousers!

The cotton pants, now sitting in a hole in the middle of a field at Lark Rise Farm, will remain there for the next eight weeks. It’s impossible to know how much decomposition will take place as weather conditions, as well as soil health, will both be a factor.

However, as Tim dug the hole for his pants to be popped into, the soil in his regeneratively farmed field showed plenty of organic activity, including several healthy earthworms, always a sure-fire sign of good soil. The healthier the soil, the more Tim’s pants should be degraded by the time he digs them up.

Tim direct drills the field the pants are now buried in, and this means that the soil isn’t disturbed by a plough that turns the top few inches of earth over, disturbing all the microscopic life that lives there. By direct drilling, the soil structure is maintained, and the soil ecosystem is healthier. This is good for the crops that grow in it; as well as the many species of birds, animals and insects that look to the soil for items to eat!

Not all soil is healthy however, and by burying Tim’s pants, we’ll be able to see in eight week’s just how much underground activity there has been nibbling away at the cotton!

Tim’s marked his pant burial spot so he can find them in July when it’s time to dig them up and look at the results!

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Read more about the wildlife and conservation initiatives on our farms here Wildlife Blog