Port Howard Farm

Owned by: Christopher and Myles Lee
Brand: Lee Bros
Land area: 91156 hectares
Number of Sheep: 40000
Breed: Merino


The Lee brothers (Christopher and Myles) have long family links with Port Howard Farm, being the fourth generation to own/manage the farm.  Back in the early 1900’s their mother’s grandfather managed the farm and his son followed on from him in 1940.  On his retirement in 1978, their paternal grandfather became manager with both their father and uncle following on in later years, until they purchased Port Howard from overseas landlords in 1987, resulting in Port Howard being the largest privately owned farm in the Falkland Islands. Christopher and Myles inherited their father’s company shares in 2000 and purchased their uncle’s shares in 2004, when he decided to retire from the managers role.

The farm:

The farm settlement is home to approximately 30 people, with a small primary school and social club and is situated in a small inlet on the lower eastern slopes of Mount Maria. There is an independently owned tourist lodge that offers excursions around the farm to see various types of wildlife or fishing trips to the renowned Warrah river.

The main East-West ferry terminal is situated at the South end of the settlement, providing easy access between the two main Islands. The ‘bunkhouse’ building, that for many years was home to single shepherds and navvies (labourers), is currently undergoing works to transform it into an accessible motel close to the ferry head. There has been a large investment in renewable energy over the last few years with the introduction of wind turbines and solar panels, with plans to add a small hydro-electric plant to complement the reduced solar output during the winter months. This system has reduced diesel electricity production by 92%.

Grazing and wool production:

The grazing system at Port Howard is a combination of traditional and modern systems, that has been developed over the years to best suit the geography of the farm. Mature sheep are moved to higher feeding grounds on the mountain slopes during the summer months, allowing the younger sheep to be rotated around the lower pastures ensuring all areas of the lowlands lie fallow for a period during the summer months. There is no grazing on the high ground during the winter months. Extensive fencing programs over the years have allowed for better controlled grazing, with most mountain areas only being grazed every third year and making rotation on the lower land more efficient.

Several thousand trees have been planted in and around the settlement area to provide shelter and protection for shorn sheep post shearing. Throughout the rest of the year, shelter is provided by valleys and rock formations. All water supplies are naturally occurring streams and ditches.

The last 25 years have seen the gradual introduction of Merino genetics from Australia into what was an established Corriedale flock. This has improved the quality of wool produced. Port Howard’s average micron for the 2022/23 season was 22.1 micron, with 122,922 greasy kilos of wool being produced for shipment.

All sheep are shorn in the settlement shearing shed, apart from two small offshore islands, where they are shorn in smaller on-island sheds. The shearers travel onto the island by small boat and the bags of wool are brought off on the same boat. The settlement shearing shed is Quality Falkland Wool Standard (QFW) approved.  QFW is audited and managed by the Falkland Islands Government, and although not recognized worldwide, does ensure the shearing shed, pens and equipment are fit for purpose and the wool clip preparation is done to a high standard. It is a seven-stand modernized shearing shed, situated close to the waterfront and ferry head, regularly visited by the general public arriving or departing on the inter-island ferry.

Wildlife and the environment:

Most of the farm coastline is home to various types of sea birds. There are 11 separate colonies of breeding penguins within the farm boundaries. Many southern sea lions also breed along the northern coast and whales can often be seen from the shoreline from January to May. The interior is home to raptors and smaller birds with several species of rare plants to be found, particularly in the more mountainous areas. Narrows Island is of particular interest to botanists with many local rare plants situated there. A partnership between Port Howard school and conservation groups has seen the establishment of a small nature area, close to the settlement, where seeds and plants have been transported from Narrows Island, to reintroduce these plants to the mainland.

There is a tussac grass plantation on the North coast of the farm to help provide an improved habit for breeding sea lions. Farm employees annually undertake the planting of tillers and seed to extend the tussac area. The farm area covers most types of Falklands environment with wet peat lands, coastal areas and mountains, with each type of environment managed in different ways. Port Howard was recently involved in the national soil mapping project and have also partaken in the carbon analysis of peat deposits, to try and get a better understanding of how climate change and grazing may affect these important carbon sinks in the future.