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Michael Egan

Research Officer - Grassland

Research Interests

Improving grassland management; increase herbage production while reducing nitrogen fertiliser, develop an in depth understanding of perennial ryegrass, legumes and herbs, growth structure to allow us develop management practices best suited to optimise performance. Provide a greater understanding of grassland science to the wider research community and stakeholders.

Specific research interests;

  • The role light interception and water-soluble carbohydrates play in white clover and perennial ryegrass growth and persistence.
  • Nitrogen fixation ability of legume in grassland swards
  • Grazing management practices of intensive grass based systems with practical focus on spring an autumn grazing management
  • The evaluation of white clover on commercial farms 

Current Projects

  • Increasing white clover proportion and persistence in perennial ryegrass swards; through improved establishment, fertiliser application strategy and grazing management practices in grazing swards
  • Incorporating white clover on commercial grassland farms in Ireland
  • Investigating the efficacy of perennial ryegrass-red clover silage for Irish animal production systems
  • Strategies to improve spring grassland management on Irish dairy farms
  • A multidisciplinary approach to increasing the nitrogen use efficiency of pasture-based systems
  • Incorporating new legumes into grazing swards and evaluating their animal, agronomic and environmental contribution.
  • The role of feed additives in dairy cow concentrates in reducing methane emissions
  • New trait addition to the Pasture Profit Index, development of a Clover Profit Index


2023: Certificate in Business Strategy, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

2015: PhD. Strategies to increase white clover in intensive dairy production systems’, University College Dublin

2011: BAgrSci (Honours) Animal & Crop Production, University College Dublin

Professional Membership

IGA – council member and editor

Marca Skillnet – steering committee member

ASA - member

Hearn, C., Egan, M., Fleming, C., Lynch, M., & O'Donovan, M (2023. Seasonal variations in nutritive and botanical composition properties of multispecies grazing swards over an entire dairy grazing season. Grassland Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/glr2.12037

Maher, P., Egan, M., Murphy, M. & Tuohy, P. (2023) Assessment of the current performance of grazing infrastructure across Irish dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science. 2022-22799.

Donaghy, D.J., Bryant, R.H., Cranston, L. M., Egan, M., Griffiths, W.M., Kay, J.K., Pembleton, K.G and Tozer, K.N. (2022) Will current rotational grazing management recommendations suit future intensive pastoral systems? Resilient Pastures – Grassland Research and Practice Series 17:225-242 

Ruelle, E., Delaby, L., Shalloo, L., O'Donovan, M., Hennessy, D., Egan, M., Horan, B. Dillon, P. (2022). Modelling the effects of stocking rate, soil type, agroclimate location and nitrogen input on the grass DM yield and forage self-sufficiency of Irish grass-based dairy production systems. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 1-15. doi:10.1017/S0021859622000272

Hearn, C., Egan, M., Berry, D., Geoghegan, A., O'Leary, M., Lynch, M., & O'Donovan, M. (2021). Agronomic performance of ten perennial ryegrass varieties on commercial grassland farms. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 1-11.

Looney, C., Wingler, A., & Egan, M. (2021). The Impact of Herbage Mass on Perennial Ryegrass Swards in Autumn on Autumn and over Winter Production and Characteristics. Agronomy, 11(6), 1140. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061140

Looney, C., Hennessy, D., Wingler, A., Claffey, A., & Egan, M. (2021). An examination of the effect of autumn closing date on over-winter herbage production and spring yield. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research. DOI: 10.15212/ijafr-2020-0129 IJAFR

Looney, C., Hennessy, D., Wingler, A., & Egan, M. (2021). The effect of autumn closing date on over winter tissue turnover in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) swards. Grass and Forage Science. https://doi.org/10.1111/gfs.12550

A. Claffey, A., Delaby, L., Boland, T.M. & Egan, M. (2020) Implications of adapting autumn grazing management on spring herbage production – the effect on late lactation milk production and the subsequent response in early lactation animal performance. Livestock Systems. 231

A. Claffey, A., Delaby, L., Galvin, N., Boland, T.M. & Egan, M. (2019) The effect of spring grass availability and grazing rotation length on the production and quality of herbage and milk in early spring. The Journal of Agricultural Science. 157, 434-448. 

O'Sullivan, M., Dillon, P., O'Sullivan, K., Pierce, K.M., Galvin, N., Egan, M. & Buckley, F. (2019). Intake, efficiency, and feeding behavior characteristics of holstein-friesian cows of divergent economic breeding index evaluated under contrasting pasture-based feeding treatments. Journal of Dairy Science. 102, 8234-8246.

O’Callaghan, T.F., Mannion, D., Apopei, D., McCarthy, N.A., Hogan, S.A., Kilcawley, K.N. & Egan, M. (2019) Influence of Supplemental Feed Choice for Pasture-Based Cows on the Fatty Acid and Volatile Profile of Milk. Foods. 8: 137

D. Enriquez-Hidalgo, T. Gilliland, M. Egan, & D. Hennessy (2018). Production and quality benefits of white clover inclusion into ryegrass swards at different nitrogen fertilizer rates. Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge. 156, 1-9

Egan, M., Galvin, N. and Hennessy, D. (2018) Incorporating white clover (Trifolium repens L.) into perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) swards receiving varying levels of nitrogen fertilizer: Effects on milk and herbage production. Journal of Dairy Science. 101:3412-3427

Egan, M., Lynch, M.B. and Hennessy, D. (2017) The effect of including white clover into N fertilised perennial ryegrass swards on herbage and milk production and dry matter intake of spring calving dairy cows. Journal of Agricultural Science Cambridge. 157, 657-668

McCarthy, B., Egan, M. and Hennessy D. (2016) Opportunities and risks of combining high inputs of inorganic N with forage legumes. Legume Perspectives 12: 29-30.

  1. Enriquez-Hidalgo, D. Hennessy, T. Gilliland, M. Egan, J. F. Mee and E. Lewis. (2014) Effect of rotationally grazing perennial ryegrass white clover or perennial ryegrass only swards on dairy cow feeding behaviour, rumen characteristics and sward depletion patterns. Livestock Science 169: 48-62.
  • Aisling Claffey – completed 2020
  • Caitlin Looney – completed 2021