NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Moray farmer uses underwear to test soil fertility

Iain Green Image copyright Corskie Farm
Image caption Iain Green buried pants in different fields

A Moray farmer has been testing the fertility of his soil by burying cotton underpants.

Iain Green, of Corskie Farm, just north of Elgin, buried underwear in different parts of his 2,800-acre farm.

The theory is that the more the material disintegrates the healthier and more robust the soil is.

The trials were conducted in collaboration with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Mr Green said: "The theory behind the 'soil my undies' test is that the cotton will be devoured by the microbes and bacteria in the soil, so the more you have the better.

"We buried them in different fields, some which we think have healthier soil and others which aren't as good."

Image copyright Corskie Farm

A number of officials and fellow farmers gathered at Mr Green's farm near the mouth of the river Spey earlier this week to dig up the pants and analyse the results.

'Quite surprised'

Mr Green said: "I think quite a few of them were quite surprised and are away to try it for themselves.

"The results were very interesting. We have quite a wet field here and obviously that has been starved of oxygen and the underpants were hardly touched.

"However, with our arable fields, which are cultivated heavily, they were eaten away, but we do cover them with a lot of muck. It was a success and a simple and cheap way of testing soil.

"The cotton is the important thing, rather than the underpants."

A QMS spokesperson said they hoped the test would now be adopted by farmers throughout the country as a means of giving them information on the productivity of their soil.

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