Record-setting cold weather has killed more than 8,000 cattle and 100,000 hectares of paddy rice in northern Vietnam since mid-January, officials said Tuesday. Most of the cattle have died in northern mountainous provinces, where temperatures during the month-long cold spell have sometimes dropped to below zero Celsius, a rarity in Vietnam.

"We fear that the number of cattle killed by coldness and shortage of food in northern provinces will keep rising in the coming days," said Hoang Kim Giao, director of the Ministry of Agriculture's Livestock Department.

The cold spell, which the National Hydrometeorology Forecast Center says is the longest ever in Vietnam, has also killed up to 100,000 hectares of the winter-spring crop of paddy rice throughout the northern provinces.

However, agriculture officials say the situation will not hurt the country's rice production this year.

"Vietnam has more than 3.6 million hectares of paddy rice in the winter-spring crop, and farmers can replant the dead paddy rice area before March 5 with no loss in production," said Nguyen Tri Ngoc, director of the ministry's Cultivation Department.

The cold spell is expected last three to four more days before temperatures grow warmer, said Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Hydrometeorology Forecast Center.