LOCAL farmers say the dry conditions are taking their toll as they look wishfully to the skies this week.
Chris Nelson bought a hay farm at Long Flat, 50km west of Port Macquarie, 12 months ago.
"It is like a dust bowl," Mr Nelson said.
"There has not been any growth in the grass for quite a while.
"We have planted oats but to get more growth we desperately need more rain."
While some rain is expected to bring some relief this week Mr Nelson believes it won't be enough.
"We need a flood, around 10 inches of rain."
Weatherzone meteorologist Graeme Brittain said conditions will be fairly unsettled on Tuesday and Wednesday along the eastern seaboard, and particularly Port Macquarie
"We have a developing low pressure system in the Tasman Sea that is going to send very gusty winds and heavy surf conditions to the Mid-North Coast, and the remainder of the eastern seaboard," he said.
Despite the windy conditions, Port Macquarie appears likely to miss any major rainfall with "a few millimetres only expected".
Brombin dairy farmer Leo Cleary is also concerned about the dry conditions.
"We are quite worried," Mr Cleary said.
"There will hopefully be some rain in the next day or so but if that doesn't happen the outlook is quite concerning going into winter."
Mr Cleary said the cost of purchasing feed from Queensland has gone through the roof since the drought.
We have planted a lot of winter feed (rye grass and oats) but it just can't grow without moisture.Leo Cleary
Mr Cleary said while they have been able to irrigate the unusually low flow of the Hastings River means this may soon not be an option.
Twenty-nine-year-old Rollands Plains farmer Andrew Noakes hasn't seen it so dry since he has been running the family dairy farm since 1999.
"2019 and end of 2018 have not been very kind to us," Mr Noakes said.
"The cost of production is through the roof and things are worsening.
"I would love to get some rain this week."
Blair Trewin from the Bureau of Meteorology said 2019 had been the "driest start to a year on record in Port Macquarie by a substantial margin".
The total rainfall for January to May was 242.4 mm, which is about 70% below the long-term average, and well below the previous record of 307.6 set in 1991.
January-May 2018 was also significantly drier than normal (571.8, about 25% below average), but well short of record levels. However, this included a very wet March (329.0). The rest of 2018 was fairly close to average except for a dry August.
The BoM predicts winter is likely to be drier than average for much of Queensland, NSW, Victoria, southeast SA, northern Tasmania, the NT, and northern and far southwest WA.
Because of warmer ocean temperatures, El Nino is likely to persist with large parts of Australia likely to see below average rainfall this winter and warmer than average days.