Rock Picker Mounts On Any Swather

"I built my first rock picker back in 1960 so this new rotary rock picker is the result of nearly 30 years of design work and experimentation," says Cliff Ranger, Lloydminster, Sask., inventor and manufacturer of a new rock picker -- fitted with a rock and root raking reel -- that's designed to fit any swather.

The out-front hydraulic-powered reel, fitted with 4 rows of 1-in. dia. steel tines, works down to 2 or 3 in. below the surface, raking rocks and roots into the rock lifting scoop behind it. As the rock lifter fills up, it dumps to the rear into a solid metal rock bucket. When the bucket fills up, you drive to the rock pile, dump it out the front, and back away.

"It's got much more maneuverability than any other rock picker because it mounts on a swather. You can turn on a dime and clean up an entire hillside in the time it takes a conventional, trailing rock picker to turn around to make a second pass. It can handle smaller and bigger rocks than any other rock picker -- from 2 in. dia. up to 40 in. Another advantage, is that you don't drive over the rocks before you pick them. It's also the only rock picker that easily handles roots because the reel pulls them in," says Ranger.

The 5-ft. wide rock picker is designed to mount in place of the table on any swather. It uses the swather hydraulic controls to drive the reel and dump the bucket. Ranger says swathers do a great job carrying the rock picker. "Unlike a tractor, it doesn't have a lot of traction so if you hit a rock, the wheels just spin so you don't damage the teeth on the picker. It lets the reel do the work of pulling rocks off the ground," says Ranger.

Manufacturing rights for the picker were sold to a farm implement company that later went bankrupt. Ranger took back the rights and now works with a local manufacturer to produce the pickers.