Robert Backwell

Robert Backwell

Robert Backwell, an English farmer of late 1700's. showed how livestock could be improved by intensively breeding animals with desirable traits. Backwell produced improved varieties of horses, cattle and sheep. He became best known for developing sheep that could be raised both for meat and wool. Earlier breeds of sheep were expensive to be raised for meat because they fattened slowly.Using these practices he developed the Leicester Longwool from the old Leicester sheep. His selection techniques changed a coarsely boned, slow growing Leicester into an animal that put on weight more rapidly and produced less waste when slaughtered. He did this by breeding the Leicester with the Lincoln Longwool, the biggest British sheep with the best quality fleece. Robert Bakewell's work with these sheep changed livestock farming forever and influenced the work of people such as Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel.


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