The drought is bringing up the unexpected for people on the land: changes in routine, feed sources, planting options and management choices.
But the biggest surprise for a district vet is just how positive those at the coalface remain despite the tough times.
That was the comment from the North West Local Land Services' Ted Irwin after speaking with producers at a series of drought feeding information sessions in the region.
The LLS held the events in Warialda, Barraba and Bingara, which LLS livestock officer Sally Balmain had said were "doing it particularly tough at the moment".
On the agenda was talk about the nutritional needs of different classes of livestock - from cows with calves down to early weaners; what nutrition can be gleaned from different feeds; and how to put together a ration.
There was also discussion of issues such as pregnancy toxaemia and vitamin A deficiencies.
The latter has been a finding in "most cattle that we've tested" - which was not a surprise, Mr Irwin said.
"What has been a surprise is that using injectable and feed-based vitamin A supplements has not been lasting anywhere near as long in cattle.
"[Producers] need to be aware they might need to supplement vitamin A again sooner than they have in the past.
"What we think is that young cattle have basically been born with very little access to vitamin A; young calves, especially, get vitamin A from colostrum and if the cattle don't have much, they're not going to give any."
Also, Mr Irwin said, those calves were "now rising 12 months old and have ever seen green grass [a strong source of vitamin A] in their life".
But on the plus side, he said it had struck the LLS team "how well producers have been handling the toughest conditions on record".
"People have been finding and sourcing feed and making up rations that are meeting stock requirements in most cases," he said.
"That's been a real surprise; we've never seen conditions this bad and people are just continuing to manage and hold onto livestock ...
"Whilst they joke about when it's going to rain and how bad it is, I think, generally speaking, they've got their chins up.
"It's not an easy climate to be optimistic in, but I do find farmers are among the most optimistic group of people you'll meet."
Mr Irwin said the well-attended sessions had had two common themes - one that was on the official agenda and one that was not.
"By far the most common inquiry is relating to: what are the actual nutritional requirements of each class of stock - and that includes mainly energy requirements but also protein and trace element requirements as well," he said.
"Another was about different sorts of feedstuffs and their values - what role do they play in the nutrition of these animals and how much of a percentage can they become?"
The second, less official theme of the sessions had been networking.
"The sessions have been well-received by the local agents, who have been coming and ... catching up with people ... about their side of the industry and what are the options of either selling cattle or getting feed in?
"So they've been doing a good job of communicating outside of formal talking, looking at options for clients."