Drought has caused the cancellation of two more Hawke's Bay sheep dog trials.
The scrapping of this week's Makotuku trial and Te Aute's trial next month brings to four the number cancelled in Hawke's Bay because of the drought.
It highlights the crisis in southern and central Hawke's Bay compared with other areas.
Where there would have been weekly trials between Dannevirke and Wairoa over the last six weeks of the season there will now be just two, next weekend at Mohaka and five weeks later near Taradale. Neighbouring dog trial areas Wanganui, King Country and Waikato have each had just one cancellation, and no trials have yet been called off in Poverty Bay.
Trials in Hawke's Bay regularly attract over 100 competitors and East Coast Rural Support Trust Hawke's Bay co-ordinator Mike Barham said they were are an important part of farming life - especially compared with current "depressing" sights of the saleyards.
To help relieve some of the stresses, the support trust is, in addition to direct farming support including drought field days and stock feed assistance, organising some more-social events, including a celebrities cricket match at Clifton Domain on April 7 to help bring the rural community together.