Saturday, August 30, 2014
Bury Your Underwear???
"Men’s cotton briefs can serve the needs of science when buried in a field for a few weeks. It’s a takeoff on an agronomy soil test that uses cotton swatches to measure carbon consumption by microbes. Microbes living in soil with plenty of carbon, rich in organic matter to turn into energy, don’t have to eat the cotton. Bacteria in carbon-poor soil will eat what they can scavenge.
The “soiled underwear test” helped Clemson and North Carolina State University Extension specialists teaching a pasture ecology workshop make their points about the importance of healthy soil and how to build it from the grassroots down.
A cattle producer who understands how the interconnected web of life works can have healthier pastures that will be more resilient to drought and more productive over time.
“This is what happens when soil lacks carbon,” said Matt Poore, N.C. State animal scientist turned pasture ecologist.
Poore held up a pair of tidy-whiteys in tatters. Mostly it was the elastic waist and leg bands that remained. The demonstration showed the results of bacteria turning cotton into food. At the other end of the display, underwear that had been in carbon-rich soil were dirty but no worse for wear.
More than 15 cattle producers in the three-day course were impressed, though no one came forward for a closer look.
LOL, I thought it was tighty whities! "No one came closer for a closer look!"
Question for the day, would your soil "eat" your underwear?