Sheep were hurled from a stock truck which rolled on a central North Island highway this afternoon.

The crash occurred on State Highway 4 at Ongarue, about 10km north of Taumarunui, about 2.15pm.

A police spokesman said sheep - some dead, others injured - were strewn across the road and a nearby paddock.

The highway was closed for several hours while a crane was brought to the scene to remove the truck.