|Location:||Timoleague, Co Cork|
|Farming:||Grass-based dairying - one of the highest stocking rates in Ireland|
|Soils:||Well drained and N is the main nutrient at risk of loss through leaching|
The Timoleague catchment is located south of the village of Timoleague near Clonakilty in Co. Cork. It is 758 ha in area and 85% of the land is in grass with 4% tillage. The balance of the area is used for non-agricultural purposes. Dairying is the predominant land use in this catchment and the stocking rate is among the highest in the country . The West Cork area where the catchment is located is representative of the most intensively farmed dairying areas in Ireland. It has the highest concentration of dairy farms in the country with large herds producing milk using an intensive, grass-based system.
The non-dairying farm area is used for for beef and sheep production on the grassland and a variety of tillage crops including spring and winter barley and wheat, oil-seed rape and maize. The maize is used to produce silage mainly for winter fodder on the dairy farms. There is also a small area of fodder crops such as kale grown for grazing in the winter.
The soils in this catchment are brown earths over old red sandstone geology belonging mostly to the Clashmore and Ballyglass soil series. They are well drained with the exception of small areas of gleyic brown alluvial soils neighbouring the stream in the valley bottoms. These soils support a long growing season and early livestock turnout, and are generally well suited to the grassland dairy production that dominates in this catchment. Based on the free draining nature of the soils nitrogen would be considered the main nutrient at risk and the main loss pathway would be leaching through the soils to the groundwater. The stream that drains the catchment flows directly into Courtmacsherry Bay.