(Sept. 18, 1:55 p.m.) Hurricane Ike, so destructive elsewhere in Texas, won’t have an effect on the Lone Star State’s citrus crop, grower-shippers and industry officials said.

And the damage from Hurricane Dolly, which struck Texas in late July, won’t be as extensive as growers had first feared.

It should all add up to typical volumes of grapefruit and oranges out of Texas this season, grower-shippers and industry officials predict.

Right after Dolly struck, some estimates put the grapefruit losses as high as 20%. Now, it looks like it will be closer to 5% or 10%, said John McClung, president of the Mission-based Texas Produce Association.

“Closer to the coast there was more damage — up to 50% — but further west, there was less than 5%,” he said.

Volumes are expected to be down only “slightly” because of storm damage for Mission-based Rio Queen Citrus Inc., said Mike Martin, president.

“We had some minor fruit drop with Hurricane Dolly, but nothing monumental,” he said.

Demand for the 2008-09 Texas crops should follow a similar historical pattern, Martin said.

“In the beginning it will start strong, but as more fruit passes maturity and more is harvested, the market tends to come off some,” he said.

Sizing could be up this season because of abundant rainfall over the summer, Martin said.

Rio Queen, which lost its main office and shed to fire in June, is packing at the Donna, Texas-based Interstate Fruit & Vegetable Co. Inc. shed, Martin said. Rio Queen hopes to have its new facility up and running in early December.

In the meantime, Martin said, customers shouldn’t notice any change in service.

McClung expects volumes similar to last year, with acreage stable at about 28,000. The mix of fruit should also be similar, he said, with grapefruit accounting for about 75% of total shipments and oranges 25%.

There should be plenty of fruit for a full slate of promotions this season from the Mission-based TexaSweet Citrus Marketing Inc., a nonprofit organization that does generic promotions for all Texas citrus grower-shippers, said Eleisha Ensign, executive director.

“We’re not expecting anything to be too low,” she said. “We should have enough to meet demand.”

Growing areas that haven’t had as good a luck dodging storms this year could widen the market window for Texas in 2008-09, McClung said.

“Florida, of course, is hurt, which helps us some,” he said.

On Sept. 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $12-14 for 7/10 bushel cartons of ruby red grapefruit 23-27 from California, down from $14-16 last year at the same time.

Seven-tenths bushel cartons of valencias 48-56 from California were $12.33-14.34, up from $10-12 last year at the same time.

Oranges should begin shipping in late September and early October, with grapefruit following in late October, McClung said.

Rio Queen expects to begin shipping grapefruit in early to mid October and oranges in late October, Martin said.

Texas should peak in November and December, and shipments should last through May or June, McClung predicted.