Dealing with drought conditions

Help is available to farmers, growers, and their families during drought and in the recovery period.

Update – 30 June 2021

Drought recovery support has been extended for farmers still feeling the effects of long-term dry conditions in parts of the North Island.

The current large-scale adverse event classification has been extended until 30 November 2021 for:

  • parts of the Bay of Plenty (Western Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatāne)
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Taupō.

The decision unlocks up to $95,000 to help farmers and growers.

The funding will enable Rural Support Trusts to provide ongoing recovery coordination and wellbeing support, including community events and technical support.

A large-scale drought adverse event classification has been in place for large parts of New Zealand since March 2020.

Maps of regions covered by the large-scale adverse event classification

North Island map [PDF, 1.5 MB]

South Island map [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Summary of classifications for affected regions and districts

A large-scale adverse event classification triggers extra support to help regions affected by drought.

Large-scale adverse event classification for drought


Support confirmed until 30 November 2021. (Decision announced 28 April 2021). Marlborough, North Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, Otago, and the Chatham Islands.
Support extended until 30 November 2021. (Decision announced 30 June 2021). Western Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatāne, Taupō, Gisborne and the Hawke’s Bay region.

What farmers can do

Monitor your feed situation

Plan your feed

Contact a Rural Support Trust

Talk to an industry association

Check your budget

Monitor your feed situation

Dry conditions along the east coast of the country mean there are shortages of feed in some regions. Ongoing feed planning and budgeting is essential.

Feed planning support [PDF, 2 MB]

Drought monitor – NIWA

Case studies on managing sheep and beef farms through drought

Feed survey summary

3 July 2020 [PDF, 410 KB]

25 June 2020 [PDF, 410 KB]

30 May 2020 [PDF, 400 KB]

15 May 2020 [PDF, 411 KB]

24 April 2020 [PDF, 409 KB]

31 July 2020 [PDF, 92 KB]

Feed support services for farmers

Support is available if you need help sourcing supplementary feed or grazing for your livestock.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is funding DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers, and other specialist providers to offer feed planning and coordination services.

Feed Coordination Service

The Feed Coordination Service helps connect farmers with surplus feed – such as hay, silage, or grazing – to farmers who need it. You can use these online Feed Coordination Service forms to get or offer feed or grazing:

Source supplementary feed to buy

List surplus supplementary feed for sale

Grazing on offer

Grazing required

Need feed now? Call 0800 FARMING or 0800 32 76 46 and follow the voice prompts.

Feed Planning Service

The free Feed Planning Service connects farmers with an industry expert to get feed planning assistance. Having a feed budget can help you:

  • calculate your feed demand
  • calculate your feed supply
  • investigate options to fill feed gaps
  • proactively make decisions.

Getting a plan in place can help give you peace of mind. We can help you do a snapshot feed plan in 20 minutes.

Need support now? Call 0800 FARMING or 0800 32 76 46 and follow the voice prompts.

Order alternative feed

If you believe you need supplementary feed, place an order with a feed merchant as soon as possible. This includes for grain from the South Island.

Some imported feeds – for example, PKE – can take 10 to 12 weeks to arrive after ordering so you need to bear this in mind when ordering. Suppliers may be able to advise on a range or mix of products to ensure your stock receive the best possible nutrition in these difficult times.

Contact a Rural Support Trust

Your local trust can provide support and advice. It's free to use a Rural Support Trust. Talking to them is confidential. They can connect you with the services you need, whether it's financial and business advice or health services.

Freephone 0800 78 72 54 (0800 RURAL HELP).

Rural Support Trust

Talk to an industry association

Industry associations like Beef + Lamb New Zealand or DairyNZ can provide technical advice. Their websites have information on planning your feed budget and managing an animal's condition.

Knowledge hub – Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Animal management – DairyNZ

Check your budget

Talk to your bank and accountant early, and talk to them regularly.

Inland Revenue can answer questions relating to taxes, including access to variations to the Income Equalisation Scheme.

Extended support for farmers affected by drought – Inland Revenue

Work and Income can tell you about emergency benefits, special needs grants, or rural assistance payments.

Income Tax – Inland Revenue

Emergency Benefit – Work and Income

Special Needs Grant – Work and Income

Rural Assistance Payment – Work and Income

Income Equalisation Scheme – Inland Revenue

Other drought advice and guidance

Lifestyle and small block owners: Coping with drought [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Farming through 2020–2021: Where to go for information and support [PDF, 2 MB]

Information on how to get through the current feed shortage situation [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Advice about on-farm emergency euthanasia [PDF, 3.7 MB]

Summer management – Dairy NZ

How you can get help

Adverse events resources

Who to contact

If you have questions about droughts or support for farmers, email

Last reviewed: