The underpants soil test is well-known around the world and is a simple yet effective way for farmers to examine the health of their soil.

Farmers get a pair of white cotton underpants, dig a hole about three inches deep, leave them there for two months and then dig them up again to see how much of the underpants are left.

Cotton, a carbon source, will be eaten by bugs and microbes, if they are present in the soil. So if the soil is healthy, then the underpants will be eaten by the microbes – if it is not healthy, then they are less likely to be eaten.

It is important that farmers carry out the test on different parts of their farm where management is different, for example grazing and silage swards or perennial ryegrass or multispecies swards.

Martin buried the other in a clover ryegrass sward.

Martin Crowe buried a pair in a sward with perennial ryegrass and clover sward.

Kenneth Reid from Clarina in Co Limerick buried a pair of cotton underpants in some of his silage ground.

Kenneth made sure to put a fencing pigtail where they were buried.

Cathal and Tadgh Kinsella brought in some help to carry out the task alongside their father Liam on Tykillen Farm in Co Wexford. One pair was buried in permanent pasture and the second in a multispecies sward.

It was all hands on deck on Andrew Mulhare's farm in Co Laois. Andrew buried one pair of pants in silage ground and another in a field where he chopped and incorporated the straw this year.