Farms near Gisborne are starting to get very dry and lambs are being unloaded.
Country Life reports 25,000 have been sold at the Stortford Lodge saleyards in Hawke's Bay and Matawhero sale yards in Gisborne in the past two weeks - a sign that farmers are taking precautionary action.
They are being sold to farms in Manawatu and the central plateau and western parts of Poverty Bay and Hawke's Bay that are wetter.
Gisborne has had some scorchers lately - it was 35.5 degrees in the shade on Wednesday and 30 was forecast for Friday.
Country Life also reports that pastoral farmers in Hawke's Bay, who have been monitoring pasture growth rates for 10 years, say November was the poorest they have recorded and December is looking worse. Growth rates are down by 30% - 40%.