Gina Moore

Harvest season is a time of hopeful anticipation for the farmer.

 The crop’s growth cycle has completed, and it’s finally time to find out the yields.

All that work for so many months … will it pay off?

How disappointing to discover the yield didn’t measure what the crop appeared to promise.

While we’ve been blessed more often than not with generous yields since Kelly and I have been married, I recently heard my guys talking about a certain soybean field they’d started cutting. Despite it looking great, the bushels per acre were an obvious disappointment that had them scratching their heads.

A visit from an agronomist revealed that an unnoticed intruder was the culprit.

The Dectes stem borer is a small, long-horned beetle whose larvae attack soybeans.

Apparently, the female beetle chews a hole in the stem and lays a single egg. After hatching, the larva feeds on the outer stem and then bores into the main stem.

If you’ve ever sliced open the stem of a plant, it resembles a straw, carrying nutrients needed for the plant’s optimal growth. But that nasty larva tunnels down to the base of the plant, where it matures.

In the meantime, it girdles the interior of the stem near or just above the soil line and plugs the steam with its excrement. Gross, right?

So, unbeknownst to us, the insidious visitor had invaded those beans and kept them from fulfilling their yield potential.

See any life parallels?

We can’t always judge a book by its cover, can we?

After all, that field of beans looked beautiful. But the flow of needed nutrients was blocked, greatly reducing the size of each bean and thus reducing the crop’s yield.

Think about that word: “insidious.” Merriam-Webster defines the adjective: 1. a) having a gradual and cumulative effect (subtle); b) of a disease: developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent; 2. a) awaiting a chance to entrap (treacherous); b) harmful but enticing (seductive).

Insidious “pests” can show up in our lives or in those of our families in various forms and at any stage of growth.

While we may think of another horned creature who strives to stunt our growth and especially our yield potential, we are wise to remember the horns may not always be obvious … on the pests or on the crop.

So how can we keep watch for such pestilence?

An article I found online from the Pioneer Seed Company described some “management practices.”

As I researched, I wondered whether parallels would continue.

“Resistant soybean varieties and chemical controls for Dectes stem borer are not currently available; therefore, cultural control methods are the only means of reducing damage and yield loss.”

Well, that drew a chuckle as I continued applying this lesson to life.

Nope, sin resistant (or immune) humans aren’t readily available. And, yep, we sure could use some “cultural control” to reduce damage and yield loss!

Other advice included crop rotation (perhaps akin to not growing complacent and instead stepping out of our comfort zones); fall tillage of affected fields (time to disc under those infestations); effective weed management (always vital, we all know); and sampling fields before maturity (importance of consistent oversight throughout the growth process).

You can continue to connect more dots and see the picture, but let’s not overlook another piece of long-held management wisdom:

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” – Psalm 91:1-6

As we grow and as harvest time approaches, may our roots grow ever deeper in God who loves us. May we aspire to grow like the trees described in Jeremiah 17:8:

“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

May we not allow anything to bore in and plug our stems. Rather, may we remain in him so we can live up to the potential for which he created us.

Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Market Consignment Sale for 25 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround area residents.