THE country's palay or unmilled rice production for the third quarter of this year is expected to drop by 0.3 percent compared to the same period in 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.Data from the PSA showed that palay production for July to September was estimated at 3.88 million metric tons (MT) as of August, lower than the 3.79 MMT posted a year earlier.The rice harvest area, meanwhile, was estimated to decrease by 0.5 percent to 926,950 hectares (ha) in the third quarter from 931,750 ha last year.In this file photo farmers harvest palay (unhusked rice) that they planted. PHOTO BY NESTOR L. ABREMATEAAbout 168,070 ha have been harvested, equivalent to 18.1 percent of the total harvest area, with a recorded palay output of 693,510 MT.'Based on standing crop for the period of July to September 2023, the yield per hectare of palay may improve to 4.09 MT or by 0.5 percent compared with the previous year's same period yield of 4.07 MT,' the PSA said.Of the remaining 758,880 ha to be harvested, 14.7 percent were at the vegetative stage, 55.5 percent at the reproductive stage, and 29.8 percent at the maturing stage.Meanwhile, the PSA estimated the third-quarter output of corn at 2.48 million MT, up 5.4 percent from 2.35 million MT a year earlier.The latest figure is lower by 3.1 percent than the July estimate of 2.56 million MT.'Harvest area based on standing corn for the period of July to September 2023 may increase to 820,730 hectares or by 1.8 percent from 806,420 hectares actual estimate of harvest area in the same period of the previous year,' said PSA.'Correspondingly, the yield per hectare of corn may increase to 3.02 MT or by 3.8 percent from its previous year's same quarter record of 2.91 MT,' it added.About 207,590 ha or 25.3 percent of the total harvest area of standing corn has been harvested, translating to 580,420 thousand MT of corn output.Meanwhile, the remaining 613,140 ha yet to be harvested include 7.2 percent of corn at the vegetative stage, 49.0 percent at the reproductive stage, and 43.8 percent at the maturing stage, according to PSA.