Some Hawke's Bay farmers are starting to run out of drinking water for their stock.
The newly formed Hawke's Bay drought committee held its first meeting on Monday.
Chairman Fenton Wilson, who is also Hawke's Bay Regional Council chair, says rapidly dwindling water supplies as well as feed shortages emerged as the biggest challenges, especially for sheep and beef farmers.
"Some dams in our central and southern Hawke's Bay areas are dry for the first time in living memory and that's a concern for not only how we deal with animal welfare issues going forward but also how do we deal with keeping enough water up to stock to make sure they are adequately catered for."
Mr Wilson says the drought committee is doing more work on that.
He says as far as feed is concerned, dairy farmers are coping quite well because they are used to using supplements and have the ability to source and distribute them.
But he says sheep farmers are struggling with letting feed go now, for example, to keep conception rates up in ewe flocks