That is correct, I am not kidding. While you are at the Rice County Fair be sure to see the display in the Conservation Building. Teresa DeMars with the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District has a number of pairs of men's underwear on a poster. It demonstrates a way to measure your soil health. A number of months ago Teresa buried the men's underwear in fields with different tillage systems.

Remember, soil is alive with many different microbes that break down crop residue. The idea is that the more and different types of microbes you have in your soil the healthier it is. The men's underwear was made from cotton, a natural organic compound. You can see in the picture that there is a difference between the tillage systems.

The underwear in the lower left was buried in the soil with conventional tillage. In the upper right is the underwear that was buried in a field that was strip tilled for 10 years  and had 1 year of a cover crop on it. You can see this pair of underwear is almost completely broken down in just a few months. Be sure to stop in at the Conservation Building while you are at the Rice County Fair!