Bakewell, Robert

Bakewell, Robert
born 1725, Dishley, Leicestershire, Eng.
died Oct. 1, 1795, Dishley

English agriculturist.

He revolutionized English sheep and cattle breeding by methodical selection, inbreeding, and culling. He was one of the first to breed sheep and cattle for meat and the first to establish on a large scale the practice of letting animals for stud. His farm became famous as a model of scientific management.

Bakewell, detail of an engraving

The Mansell Collection

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▪ British agriculturalist
born 1725, Dishley, Leicestershire, England
died October 1, 1795, Dishley

      agriculturist who revolutionized sheep and cattle breeding in England by methodical selection, inbreeding, and culling.

      Bakewell's father was a farmer, with a farm of 440 acres (178 hectares) at Dishley. As a young man, Bakewell traveled about the country learning agricultural techniques and returned to the farm of his ailing father (who died in 1760). There Bakewell became one of the first to breed both sheep and cattle for meat; previously the animals were bred primarily for wool or work. He developed the Leicestershire longhorn cattle into good meat producers, but they were poor suppliers of milk and were later supplanted by the Shorthorns bred by Charles Colling.

 Bakewell had more permanent success in developing the Leicester sheep (see photograph—>), a barrel-shaped animal that produced long, coarse wool and also provided a good yield of high-quality meat. The first to establish on a large scale the practice of letting animals for stud, he made his farm famous as a model of scientific management.

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Universalium. 2010.

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