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An introduction to Agricultural Catchments week and the Timoleague open day

An introduction to Agricultural Catchments week and the Timoleague open day

The Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) is running a dedicated week of activities showcasing its research and advisory programme from Friday May 5th to Friday May 12th. Its theme is ‘A Living Lab Monitoring Water Quality and Gaseous Emissions.’

All through the week the, ACP team will showcase research, advisory and collaborative initiatives focussed on water quality monitoring and improvement. Bridget Lynch, Senior Research Officer, and Tom O’Connell, Communications Officer, from ACP explain more of this week's happenings.

Since 2008, the programme has been working with over 300 landowners in six catchments located around the country, monitoring water quality and assessing the impact of changes in Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme and Nitrates Derogation. In recent years, the programme has also started research on gaseous emissions.

The week will start with a Teagasc Signpost Series webinar on May 5th and will be followed by a mix of in-person events, written articles, podcasts, and culminate with a public open day at the water monitoring outlet in the Timoleague catchment, Co. Cork.

The content of the week will be published each day through the Teagasc website, corporate social media channels and also the ACP’s own channels. There will be a different focus and output for each day with the following highlights:

  • Friday, May 5th - water quality trends from the Agricultural Catchments Programme;
  • Monday, May 8th - farmers’ preferences for actions to adhere to the 5th NAP;
  • Tuesday, May 9th - seasonality of nitrate loss and an international perspective of the ACP;
  • Wednesday, May 10th - subcatchment approach to catchment science;
  • Thursday, May 11th - catch crops and measuring Volumetric Soil Moisture Content;
  • Friday, May 12th - the Timoleague catchment - A living lab.

For full details and to access content for each day, click here.

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The Timoleague public open day

The catchment is located south of the village of Timoleague near Clonakilty in Co. Cork and works closely with the nearby Teagasc Clonakilty Agricultural College.

The programme has been monitoring water quality in the Timoleague catchment for over a decade. Since 2019, the ACP has observed a reduction in nitrate (N) concentrations leaving this dairy agricultural catchment.

A wide range of data is being collected from instrumentation situated on farms within the catchment. In addition, staff work closely with farmers to collect socio-economic data. 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 open day at the outlet monitoring site will feature a wide range of boards at which ACP staff will discuss:

  • Introduction to the programme and Timoleague catchment;
  • Organic manure management and soil fertility trends;
  • Soil solution monitoring;
  • Farmers’ opinion of NAP regulation changes;
  • Water monitoring infrastructure and monthly sampling;
  • Water quality trends;
  • Kick sampling and macro invertebrate demonstration.

Further information

More details are available at: www.teagasc.ie/agcatchments


The ACP is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and staff have been working with more than 300 farmers across six catchments in Ireland for over 10 years.

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