Agricultural authorities in the UK have issued some very unusual advice to farmers by asking them to bury underwear on their land.
The advice comes from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHB) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) who say the practice will result in better outcomes for livestock farmers.
By burying underwear and leaving it for two months, it is possible to determine how robust a farm's soil is. If the topsoil is robust the underwear should disintegrate over time leaving just the elastic behind.
However, unhealthy and lifeless soil will fail to produce the same result and the underwear will not appear decomposed.
The campaign claims that healthy soil provides superior quality feed for animals. Sheep and cattle produced for meat taste better if they eat from crops which are teeming with healthy microorganisms. Fungi, bacteria and algae keep soil replenished for other life by turning biological waste into nutrients.
Scottish farmer Iain Green has been burying underwear in his 2,800-acre farm in Elgin, Scotland since September and says the results have provided valuable insights on how to improve his farm.
"The theory behind the test is that the cotton will be devoured by the microbes and bacteria in the soil, so the more you have the better," he said.
"We buried them in different fields, some which we think have healthier soil and others which aren't as good."
Recently a number of farmers gathered to his estate to see the results of the experiment. They observed that some pairs of underwear were more decomposed than others, depending on where they were buried.
"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."