Broadcaster: BBC 1
This is a seven-minute clip from a “heroes of farming” special episode of Countryfile. This section looks at the importance of selective breeding of animals in agriculture. It looks back to Robert Bakewell, pioneer of the deliberate mating of selected livestock to breed in certain traits, and follows it all the way through to the contemporary applications. These include the potential of using modern electronic tags to make more scientifically-informed decisions about which animals are actually growing best, and cutting-edge genomic breeding. In the latter, male calves have their DNA analysed when they are a day old, so that their genes likely to improve yields of milk production in daughter cows can be checked. Sperm from bulls considered the best can then be collected and used in breeding programmes right around the world. The clip includes the amazing, and slightly disturbing, statistic that “Corinthian”, not yet two years old, has fathered about 10,000 daughters.