The mission of Verdi-Plus, Paul and Diane Overby’s business dedicated to help producers manage and increase farm and ranch profitability, is value-added management solutions. Verdi(pronounced vaer-de) means“value” or “worth” in Norwegian, a tribute to their common heritage. Thus, Verdi-Plus means “Value- Added” which conveys their commitment to provide management solutions that add value to their customers’ operations.

The farming story of Paul and Diane starts back in 1993 when, as older-than-average beginning farmers, they set aside their briefcases and power suits and moved back to north central North Dakota to assume operation of Paul’s parents’ family farm, Lee Farms — a diversified small grains farm. Crops grown on their 1750 acre farm include malting barley, canola, field peas flax, hard red spring wheat, hard white spring wheat, winter wheat, durum, and oil sunflowers, along with hay and pasture land.

After researching numerous software options, we  chose Farm Works software in 1999. From initially using the software for field and financial records, their use of Farm Works has expanded to using Site to analyze yield maps and develop variable-rate N prescription maps. They also use the Mate packages for field operation record keeping and data logging, zone soil sampling, guidance, and the variable-rate nitrogen management program. Based on their satisfaction using Farm Works along with their desire to help other farmers succeed, Paul approached Farm Works in 2006 about establishing a North Dakota dealership, and in January 2007 their business, Verdi-Plus, was established. In addition to providing the full line of software and hardware products offered by Farm Works, Verdi-Plus also builds Field Management Zone maps for producers and agronomists based on SatShot imagery from AgriImaGIS Technologies. These maps can be used for VRA fertilizer, seed, herbicides, and fungicides using Farm Works Site and Farm Works or Raven hardware. Farmers can also learn how to use SatShot to build their own VRA maps.

We were seeing consistently low-yielding harvest areas so they put Paul’s active research interest in variable- rate field management into practice in 2004. Field zone mapping began that fall, using satellite imagery as the initial source to develop management zones in the Farm Works Software Site program, and they began applying less nitrogen to the low yielding areas. While a commitment of time and resources was necessary to develop the management zone plan, the economic rewards were immediately noticeable. “Backing off the nitrogen in those areas resulted in the same yield with a significant fertilizer cost savings of 10% to 20% annually,” Paul commented. He added that even small farming operations, such as their 1750 acre farm, can realize increased profitability utilizing variable-rate applications. Plus there is the added benefit of knowing they are protecting the environment by reducing unnecessary N use.

When the we began varying rates by zone, Diane’s concern was the amount of extra field work that would be required as she ran the applicator. Diane found the Farm Works VRA software automatically varied the rate. After operating the combine in the first field she had applied, she became a believer! As of 2008 over 1000 acres of the farm are zoned and being applied with variable rates of N in the form ofNH3.

In 2009 and 2010 the pastures will be divided into eight grazing cells and a grazing management plan will be implemented for the nephew who rents the land for his cattle. The fencing plans for the grazing cells will also be developed in Site and installed using Site Mate