Parts of Northland are starting to see grass growth with welcome rain so far this month exceeding the combined total for January and February.
However, it has not been enough to ease water restrictions or break the drought but MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said recent rain across much of Northland was a good start.
From March 1 to Monday, Whangārei received 56.6mm of rain, Kaikohe 55mm, Kaitaia 27mm, and Dargaville 33.2mm.
These places had between 10mm and 12mm of rain in January and February.
"The soil can theoretically hold 150mm of rain. To break the drought, Northland needs 100mm of rain and if it gets another one or two rain events in quick succession then it will get pretty close," Griffiths said.
"The problem, though, is there's no rain on the horizon in Northland over the next 10 days. Only minor showers and a change from south-westerlies but a couple of good bursts of rain in April would be good."
The south-westerlies and showers will ease from today as a ridge of high pressure moves over the country.
• Recent rain no saviour for drought-stricken Northland
• Drought declared in Northland- at last- and 80k in government assistance
• Government declares drought in Northland and parts of Auckland
• Premium - Northland drought: Reports raise water management and health concerns
Griffiths said the recent rain would result in a little bit of growth on the top layer of grass.
Northland Federated Farmers president John Blackwell said the recent rain has been very sporadic, although the west coast benefited this time around.
He said even showers should ensure pasture growth while arrangements were being made to bring supplementary stock from the South Island.
Farmers were anxious but, like everyone else, he said they would have to carry on with their work in light of restrictions around Covid-10.
"Self-isolation is something new for us but we are fortunate we're in the food business, not hospitality or managing large events. But we'll have to adapt as we go along," Blackwell said.
He said farmers tried to keep within their families and respected the 2 metre rule while still looking after their animals.
Recent rain made little difference to dam levels in Whangārei where Level 2 water restrictions currently apply.
Water levels in both Whau Valley Dam and Wilson's Dam increased about 2 per cent since the beginning of March to sit at 57 per cent and 65 per cent respectively.
Northland Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said with sporadic rain recently, farmers were pretty short on feed.
There were a lot of supplementary feed available but not a lot of extra feed, she said.
"Any rain is helpful and certainly means grass is starting to grow but at the moment there's just not enough rain to say when the drought will be over," Jonker said.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor had earlier said the government would consider a request by Northland farmers for financial assistance in bringing barley, hay, barley straw, and maize from Canterbury and parts of Waikato.