Construction at Moody County’s latest dairy is expected to be completed next summer after a rainy past few months pushed the project timeline back.
Wildwood Dairy, being built south of Egan, is one of 10 Class A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, in the county. In addition to dairies, other operations include Dakota Layers and cattle and hog CAFOs.
Wildwood, a company based in Bakersfield, Calif., is approved by Moody County and the state for 5,000 cows.
For now, completion is expected in July, said Dan Finke with United Development out of Brookings, which is building the dairy. Contractors started moving dirt in May before the wet summer when it rained several inches at once.
“It was ridiculous, the rain,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
Wildwood has had its own cement plant on site to provide acres of concrete. The largest barn, where the cows will be fed and bedded has a roof, but workers continue to put up walls and finish that facility. Other buildings also are planned.
“The one big building will be enclosed. There’s a couple buildings that aren’t up yet,” Finke said. “It’s going to be quite large.”
Once the large building is enclosed, work can be done inside, he said.
Big Sioux Community Water Systems and Sioux Valley Energy will provide utilities to the dairy. The dairy also will have its own generator.
Wildwood will use 400,000 gallons of water a day, as much as the city of Flandreau uses, said Martin Jarett, manager of Big Sioux Community Water.
To accommodate that use, the rural water provider will drill two more wells on its wellfield near Egan and will install about three miles of water lines with eight-inch pipes as opposed to typical two-inch pipes, he said. Wildwood will pay for the expansion, which will allow the dairy to use 300 gallons a minute.
“It’s probably the largest dairy that we serve currently. Obviously, we’ve been in talks with them going on two years, ever since this project was first discussed,” Jarrett said.
“The lines will be going across the land we already own in the valley and along the public right-of-way,” he said.
The company considered digging its own wells, but negotiated a plan for rural water because it is softer for use in coolers and misting equipment, Jarrett said. “Our water quality is a lot better. They will have less issues using our water in their equipment,” he said.
For Sioux Valley Energy, the project was a standard build with no special requirements, said Carrie Vugteveen, communications director. “Capacity and reliability should be the same in that area,” she said.