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Michael Egan

Research Officer - Grassland

Research Interests

My ambition is to develop and lead a research program in the area of improved grassland management; develop a in depth understanding of perennial ryegrass, legumes and herbs, growth structure to allow us develop management practices that are best suited to optimise performance, while providing a greater understanding of grassland science to the wider research community and stakeholders.

Specific research interests

  • The agronomic factors impacting a legumes establishment and contribution to grassland swards
  • The role of white clover in reduced nitrogen fertiliser use on Irish grass farms
  • Grazing management practices in intensive grass based systems

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
  • Investigating the efficacy of perennial ryegrass-red clover silage for Irish animal production systems
  • Incorporating white clover on commercial grassland farms in Ireland
  • Strategies to improve spring grassland management on Irish dairy farms
  • Incorporating new legumes into grazing swards and evaluating their animal, agronomic and environmental contribution.
  • Optimizing grazing infrastructure on dairy and beef farms
  • Adapting autumn and spring grazing management strategies to increase spring grass availability and milk production within intensive grazing systems


PhD in Agricultural Science, University College Dublin 

Bachelor of Agriculture Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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.

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.