Southern Hemisphere pear exports to the U.S. are expected to be far lower than first projected, due to poor growing conditions in Argentina.

About 656 metric tons of pears from Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and other Southern Hemisphere countries are expected to be imported in 2012, 15% fewer than last season, according to a March estimate from the Brussels-based World Apple and Pear Association.

In a February estimate from the association, Southern Hemisphere pear exports to the U.S. were expected to be 14% higher than last season.

Projected Southern Hemisphere apple exports changed slightly from February to March. The association is now expecting exports, at 1.64 million metric tons, to be 5% lower than last season. The February estimate projected imports to be 4% lower.