A number of Northland farmers are being forced to buy water for their stock, as dams dry up and the drought drags on.
Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Helen Moodie says that has never happened before as far as she knows.
She says buying water is now the only option for some farmers, short of selling all their stock.
Ms Moody says until now, the Northland drought has been likened to a very dry summer in the early 1980s.
But older farmers are now comparing it with the worst recorded drought, in 1946, when no rain fell from October - May.