The body of an 87-year-old farmer who went missing in steep Far North bush was found after searchers spotted a dog which had stayed near his side all night then led them through rugged terrain to him.

The man was last seen about 1pm yesterday when he left home on his quad bike to check some farm equipment on his Topps Access Rd property, just south of Kaeo.

Family, friends and neighbours began a search when neither he nor the dog returned. They called police when there was still no sign of the pair by 8pm.

The black cattle dog, which was described as small and normally timid, was understood to belong to the man's daughter but followed him everywhere he went.

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Police and Search and Rescue volunteers began a search of the area, described by a seasoned police officer as "extremely rugged" and "almost vertical", about 9.15pm.

The search was called off at 3.30am today when fog made it too dangerous to continue, then resumed about 7.30am.

He was found around noon today after searchers spotted the dog, which then led them about 10 metres down steep terrain to the man's body.

The man's name will be released once all next of kin have been notified.