KUALA LUMPUR: Feedlot manager Muhammad Zubir Mohamed sighed heavily when a worker informed him of the death of yet another cow. It was 7am and he was just getting ready to leave for his feedlot in Bangi, Selangor, when he received the bad news.
Over the past three months, the feedlot concerned lost 20 head of cattle ostensibly due to heat stress brought about by the hot weather Malaysia is currently experiencing. The cows were part of the cattle kept aside to meet the demand for the Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations yesterday.
According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia), Malaysia is expected to experience the El Nino phenomenon leading to warmer, drier weather until September.
“The current hot weather is impacting livestock farmers. At our feedlot, we lost 20 head of cattle over the last three months. Each of them weighed an estimated 180 to 250 kilogrammes (kg) and valued at around RM4,300. Their deaths has caused me to lose nearly RM100,000,” Muhammad Zubir, 42, told Bernama when met at the 0.8-hectare feedlot which he has been running since 2004.
The father-of-six said the high temperature has also affected the growth of other livestock at his feedlot resulting in them unable to attain the desired weight and not being sold as scheduled.
His operations costs also went up after he was forced to extend his cattle’s growth period until they attain a minimum weight of 180kg each.
“When these animals become stressed due to the heat, they tend to lose their appetite which affects their body weight. Local breeds usually take about two weeks to start gaining weight again but the bigger-sized imported ones take up to a month to do so.
“The longer these animals stay here on the feedlot, the more we have to spend,” said Muhammad Zubir, who is assisted by eight workers. The feedlot that he runs has 350 head of cattle including 50 buffaloes.
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