South Canterbury is chronically dry, and the land has not recovered from a hot summer, farmers there say.
Federated Farmers South Canterbury meat and fibre chairman Miles Anderson said the past 18 months had been tough, with a lack of consistent rain.
Mr Anderson, who farms south-west of Timaru, said rain in January helped them through to now but farmers' green crops needed rain while the weather was still warm to help them grow.
However, they were still struggling with dry conditions.
"We're chronically dry again. We had rain in January but through February there's been really little or no rain and very hot conditions."
Farmers were quite proactive at reducing stock numbers, and the rain in January helped grass growth and crops, but the pasture was now dormant, Mr Anderson said.
He had bought in feed for autumn and was hoping his green feed crops would get him through winter.
"I don't think anyone is in a position to buy feed later on, simply because of economics - it's been a tough few years."