Investigators baffled as wheat fields wither
Mysterious yellowing affects 40,000 acres of Eastern Oregon; new problem feared
"The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University are investigating the yellowing of upward of 40,000 acres of wheat in Umatilla and Morrow counties. So far, the cause is a mystery, and researchers do not know if the problems in the two counties are related. In early November, Umatilla County growers noticed wheat fields turning yellow and dying, OSU Extension soil scientist Don Wysocki said. Sixteen fields from three to 10 miles northwest of Pendleton were affected, Wysocki said. They are "more or less but not completely contiguous," he said. Not every field in the area was affected. The area was predominately planted to soft white Clearfield variety ORCF-102, but other varieties were also affected, Wysocki said. "There's probably more than one thing going on in these particular fields, like in any field," he said."
"OSU Morrow County Extension associate professor Larry Lutcher said 30,000 to 40,000 acres of wheat in his county have plants with yellow or purple tips. The discoloration spreads inward and downward on the leaf. In some cases, plants are completely desiccated and will not recover. The symptoms have been observed in many fields in the county, Lutcher said, but do not appear tied to any particular location. "Most of the symptoms in Morrow County are unlike anything I have ever seen," Lutcher said." [emphasis mine. more at link above]
It is interesting in light of what is going on with wheat around the world. It is interesting in light of what prophecy says about wheat. Finally, it is interesting in terms of the allegory and symbolism of harvest used so often in the bible. First, here is what is happening with wheat around the world.
1. Ug99 is a wheat rust disease that was discovered in Uganda (Ug) in 1999. The stem, black or cereal rusts are caused by the fungus Puccinia graminis and are a significant disease affecting cereal crops. An epidemic of stem rust on wheat caused by race Ug99 is currently spreading across Africa, Asia and most recently into Middle East and is causing major concern due to the large numbers of people dependent on wheat for sustenance. The strain was named after the country where it was identified (Uganda) and the year of its discovery (1999). It spread to Kenya, then Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, and is becoming more virulent as it spreads. Scientists are working on breeding strains of wheat that are resistant to UG99. It is virulent to the great majority of wheat varieties. Unlike other rusts, which only partially affect crop yields, UG99 can bring 100% crop loss. Up to 80% yield losses were recently recorded in Kenya.
However, that genetic work seems to be failing. "Four new mutations of Ug99, a strain of a deadly wheat pathogen known as stem rust, have overcome existing sources of genetic resistance developed to safeguard the world's wheat crop. Leading wheat experts from Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, who are in St. Petersburg, Russia for a global wheat event organized by the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, said the evolving pathogen may pose an even greater threat to global wheat production than the original Ug99." That was from Science Daily, May 2010. So the wheat is being killed all over the world and there is nothing we have yet been able to do about it.
2. The Oregon wheat failure is interesting in light of prophecy. Wheat figures into end time prophecy quite starkly. In the Seal Third Judgment (Black Horse) it is said, "When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"Wheat will be in such short supply, a person will have to spend his entire day's wages just to get enough to feed him, never mind the family. Barely will also be in short supply. The Black Horse is famine, which will affect all the people on the earth, except the very rich.
3. The Oregon wheat failure is interesting in light of the bible's use of harvest and reaping. One example of the judgment God brings is the following from Joel 1:10-11- "The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Despair, you farmers, wail, you vine growers; grieve for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field is destroyed..." Matthew Henry says about that verse, "Let the husbandmen and vine-dressers lament, v. 11. Let them be ashamed of the care and pains they have taken about their vineyards, for it will be all labour lost, and they shall gain no advantage by it; they shall see the fruit of their labour eaten up before their eyes, and shall not be able to save any of it. Note, Those who labour only for the meat that perishes will, sooner or later, be ashamed of their labour. The vine-dressers will then express their extreme grief by howling, when they see their vineyards stripped of leaves and fruit, and the vines withered, so that nothing is to be had or hoped for from them, wherewith they might pay their rent and maintain their families. The destruction is particularly described here: The field is laid waste (v. 10); all is consumed that is produced; the land mourns; the ground has a melancholy aspect, and looks ruefully; all the inhabitants of the land are in tears for what they have lost..."
A less direct and a more symbolic use of wheat and harvest in the bible is in Matthew 13:30 parable of the wheat and the tares. Read it in its entirely in Matthew 13:24-30. "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." (v. 30; KJV) This parable represents the present and future state of the church of Christ's gospel; His care of it, the devil's hatred against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad, and the separation between them in the other world.
The LORD looks at the saved sheep as wheat, at the lost sheep as tares, and judgment as harvest time. (Rev 14:14). I think that it is very interesting that the wheat died in Oregon. It is dying elsewhere due to Ug99, it is dying in OR due to who knows why, and it is dying in places like Australia and Russia because of 'natural' disasters like floods and heat, respectively. The wheat is dying. It is dying in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It is dying in Australia, Russia, and America. The wheat is dying, and soon and very soon, it will cost you everything to even obtain a fistful. Hunger is coming, and then the harvest. Are you ready?
I'm ready, because I know I will escape all these things. I will be raptured to Jesus when He calls us (read here) and I will be dining with Him at a wedding banquet while those who refused His offer of salvation by His grace will perish from famine on earth. If you ask Jesus to forgive your sins, and make Him LORD of your life, worthy to be obeyed and followed, you, too, will dine with the King. Or, you can choose to be harvested like chaff on the last day. As always, it is up to you.