Weitz Partners with Prairie Sky Seed on New Greenfield Seed Conditioning Facility & Warehouse

The Weitz Company, a national full-service construction firm, announces the completion of a new greenfield seed conditioning facility and warehouse in Hemingford, Neb. for Prairie Sky Seed. Weitz partnered with Mike Dunlap, agronomist, certified crop advisor and project consultant, KJWW Engineering, as the lead designer. Interstates Companies served as the design-build electrical contractor on the project.

Project planning and development started in May 2013, with Weitz, KJWW and Interstates working closely with Prairie Sky Seed over several months to develop the right solutions that fit the business needs. Weitz mobilized in November 2013 and completed facility startup and commissioning in July 2014.

Building with business needs in mind

Prairie Sky Seed is a growing family-owned company that produces wheat, oats, triticale, peas and cover crops. At the Hemingford, Neb. operation, Prairie Sky Seed partnered with Weitz to develop a state-of-the-art, fully automated seed conditioning facility equipped to clean, size, treat and package primarily wheat and oats.

Brad Hansen, operating officer of Prairie Sky Seed, had a clear vision of what he wanted the new facility to do. “Product quality and productivity are key components for our business growth,” says Hansen.

Prior to the development of the Hemingford, Neb. facility, equipment was a limiting factor for Prairie Sky Seed, as production was constrained to only conditioning 100,000 bushels of wheat per year. Through the first six months of operation in their new facility, Prairie Sky Seed has conditioned more than 600,000 bushels of wheat.

The new facility’s capacity is 500 bushels per hour (BPH) and is designed to allow upgrade to 1,000 BPH by installing a second conditioning line.

Technology eliminates risks, helps schedule management

The greatest opportunity on this project was the schedule. Prairie Sky Seed’s goal was to be fully operational by wheat harvest. Weitz provided a design-build solution with the ability to start construction without a 100 percent completed design.

“Working with Prairie Sky Seed using our design-build method created a huge advantage in controlling and condensing the schedule. We completed the design and construction within eight months, meeting Prairie Sky Seed’s expectations,” says Nick Welter, project manager, Weitz.

In addition, Weitz utilized KJWW’s 3D model to assist with design reviews, pre-planning, digital fabrication and clash detection to eliminate risks and better control project schedule. “No longer are designs just lines on paper, there is an intelligent 3D model in the background providing real-world accuracy and special relationships that doesn’t existing in 2D designs,” states Jeremy Cychosz, project manager, KJWW.

Startup and commissioning

Since startup in July 2014, Prairie Sky Seed’s Hemingford, Neb. facility has switched over from conditioning hard red winter wheat to conditioning oats. Through the first year of operations, Prairie Sky Seed’s new facility will condition and treat more than 750,000 BU of product.