Are we on the brink of another drought in Hawke's Bay?
For four months the region has received below average rainfall, said Hawke's Bay Regional Council rural advisory group chairman Lochie MacGillivray.
The group had a meeting on Friday discussing the dry conditions and impacts on farmers.
MacGillivray said the region had experienced below average rainfall for four consecutive months and monitored river flows had fallen below normal levels.
"Groundwater water levels are exceptionally low, pasture growth is minimal and farmers are starting to use supplementary feed."
He said many farmers were prepared for the dry conditions, after favourable weather conditions in late spring and had stored feed available.
There was still concern in the community due to low water levels and the forecast of little or no rain in the foreseeable future, with farms encouraged to plan for continued dry conditions.
"It is not easy to predict when it will rain but a plan provides the framework for decisions that need to be made and when."
Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Jim Galloway, who also attended the meeting, said certain areas were getting very dry once again.
He said farmers were in a better place than this time last year as far as stock condition and feed on hand.
"Grass on hand is okay, but it's going down very fast as we're not getting the regrowth.
"People do need to think about their feed budgets very carefully."
Water was also a concern.
Galloway said the ground water still hasn't recharged from last year's drought and several years of below average rainfall.
"If we don't get a good amount of recharge into this system – dams are dry now, streams could run dry very quickly again - water becomes as much as an issue as feed."
A farmer himself, Galloway added even though more feed and supplements are available than the last drought, they are still very cautious of winter's arrival.
According to Hawke's Bay Regional Council's principal scientist air, Dr Kathleen Kozyniak, and the rainfall report for March, all parts of the region received less than 50 per cent of normal rainfall.
"The Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges and the Heretaunga and Ruataniwha Plains, as well as southern Hawke's Bay, have hit four consecutive months of below normal rainfall," she said.
MPI runs a free feed planning service, which will help farmers to set up a feed plan and also connect them with available sources of supplement, such as silage and hay.
This can be accessed by phoning 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 23 33 52) or 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 7969).