TEXAS cattle ranches have been devestated by wildfires currently hitting the US state.

Shane Pennington, a 56-year-old cattle farmer near Canadian, Texas, was forced to evacuate his home, and he returned to the ranch to find around 50 cattle dead, with nursing cows desperately searching for their lost calves.

As the flames tore through the ranch, they caused severe injuries to his stock, burning off some animals’ tails and rendering others blind.

“It just burned all the hair off them,” he said.

“Their feet are coming off. Their hooves, they’re bloody.”

Mr Pennington is one of many cattle farmers whose livelihoods have been devastated by the Smokehouse Creek fire, the largest wildfire in Texas history, which has burned more than a million acres of land across the panhandle.

The state is home to about 4.1 million beef cattle, according to professor of agricultural economics at Texas A and M University. David P. Anderson. More than 85% are in the panhandle, according to Texas agriculture commissioner Sid Miller.

Farmers and agricultural experts say the wildfire will continue to affect the cattle industry for years to come.

In addition to the short-term effects of cattle killed and grievously injured by the flames, there will be lasting repercussions, as herds cultivated for years struggle to recover and traumatised cows fail to reproduce.

Mr Miller asked for donations and prayers for Texas residents who have lost homes and livestock in the wildfires.

“There’s no grass, there’s no water for the livestock,” Miller stressed. “We’ve lost over 3000 head, which is a very small number, that will double or triple easily. We’ve got cattle that we’re going to have to euthanise because of the damage to their hooves, their udders. We’ll just have to put them down.”

The cattle business in Texas is worth an estimated $15.5bn, making it by far the most profitable agricultural commodity in the state, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture. There are millions of cattle across the panhandle specifically, with some counties counting more cattle than people among its residents, the department reported.

“The losses could be catastrophic for those counties,” Mr Miller said.

“Farmers and ranchers are losing everything.”

Ranchers and local authorities say although the wildfire is not expected to affect beef prices across the country, it may leave lasting economic scars for ranchers.

Fields, the owner of the ranch where Shane Pennington works, told news outlets: "a 'good productive cow' is worth between $2000 and $2400.

He pointed out cattle prices were already high before the wildfire hit and they will likely continue to go up in the aftermath of the blaze.

Anderson, the agricultural economics professor, told CNN the effect on cattle ranchers will be multifold. In addition to losing animals, affected farmers have also lost grass, hay, barns, and fencing to the blaze. A mile of fencing alone might cost between $15,000 and $18,000, he said.

Some relief might come from government programs designed to help farmers in the wake of ecological disasters. The USDA has instructed farmers to document their losses and take photos of each dead animal for reimbursement through its disaster assistance programs.

The Texas Department of Agriculture coordinates its own relief fund for farmers and is also working to connect farmers in need with hay through its 'Hay Hotline'.

Mr Anderson said despite how challenging the wildfire will be for Texas ranchers, it is unlikely to have a significant effect on beef prices. The number of affected cattle is small compared to the total population across the US, he explained.

“If the fire hits your ranch, it’s a huge disaster for you,” he said.

“But we don’t expect to see price effects to consumers because of this.”