Fertility and Nutrients
SCCC asks you to soil your undies for National Soil Conservation Week
By Top Crop Manager
The Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) is once again conducting their annual National Soil Conservation Week (NSCW), running from April 19-26. NSCW aims to raise awareness of the importance of soil health and conservation in Canada.
The annual cost of soil degradation in Canada is estimated at over $3 billion each year, which should be excellent motivation to protect and improve soil health.
SCCC has set several priorities for 2020, including increasing access to quality information on soil health and conservation, identifying and supporting production practices that ensure the sustainability of Canadian soils and raising awareness of the importance of soil health to human well-being.
As part of NSCW, SCCC is suggesting a new round of the popular Soil Your Undies initiative. Begun by the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario and brought to the national level by SCCC, Soil Your Undies is a fun project you can conduct to test the level of biological activity (a measure of soil health) in your soil. The gist is that you bury a pair of 100 per cent cotton underwear in the top 15 centimetres of soil, marking their location with a flag. After two months, dig up the underwear to see how decomposed the underwear are – the greater the decomposition, the higher the level of biological activity in your soil.
Conducting the test at multiple sites on your land can show the variations in soil health from location to location. For farmers, it is recommended to bury one pair on unfarmed land to set a control for the base soil biological activity.
For more information on how you can participate in NSCW or to become a member of SCCC, visit soilcc.ca/programs/national-soil-conservation-week/.