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Rock Removal Ideas?

Old 08-18-2017, 11:27 AM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Rock Removal Ideas?

Trying to start a food plot in an old power line right of way. It's 0.6 acres. At this point, all the scrub trees have been cleared and vegetation has been sprayed. About half has been disced a couple times and sprayed three times. I'm still working to clear the rocks from the other half. This land is very rocky. Anything from baseball sized rocks to rocks the size of a pick up. I have a Kubota L3901 with an FEL and have used that to pick up a lot of them. Problem is I'm running out of time and need to come up with a faster method.

Right now I'm considering renting a box blade and a landscape rake for a weekend to try and get the smaller rocks up. Will use the FEL to move the big ones. My idea is to use the box blade with the rippers set to about 3" deep and slowly go over everything to turn up the rocks just under the surface. Then go back with the landscape rake and try to pull the rocks into a row to be picked up with the FEL. Does this sound feasible? Never used a landscape rake before so I'm not sure if it will do what I'm thinking. I do have a tiller on the Kubota which works great but I have no doubt the rocks on this land would destroy it in a matter of minutes. Don't need to get every single rock but would like to get it cleaned up a little better.

Soil test says I need a ton of lime which will be going down this weekend. Fert will be spread just before final discing and seeding. Going to be 50/50 mix of Durana and Patriot clover. I think if I can get the rocks cleaned up a little better this plot will be beautiful. Anyway, let me know if you've tried this before and it worked or not. If it will work the plan is to rent the stuff Labor Day weekend and do it then. That should give me time to do one more spray if needed before planting.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:59 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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can you rent a rock bucket with teeth for your tractor?
like one of these?

http://www.spartanequipment.com/prod...ith-Teeth.html
t hat would be the way to go, and maybe get a SMALLER than normal sized bucket too, so you can scoop, load and carry, fill, then dump, without going over limits on things, and you won't be moving top soil as much

NOW if your in farm country, you MIGHT be able to find a actual rock picker, they get towed behind your tractor and fill a tray like, and once a certain weight of rocks is there they dump a pile , into a pile, which you can then scoop up with your bucket and move

a landscape rake alone I think would work better than a box blade/scraper, that will move too much top soil and cover rocks on you

issue is, though, most are not that durable and big rocks you might damage it, and end up paying for that

ideally you'd want to run a dozer with a rake
, and then clean afterwards!

rocks will be an issue for a few yrs if you get freezing temps there, as once you disrupt things and water gets in and it freezes thaws, more will get pushed up

been an issue for me in one plot(3 acres) I have picked about 500 ton, and thats NO lie, of rocks out of it the past 20 yrs, and have many there larger than a full sized pick up ruck, that ain't going any where, hit them with a D 6 dozer and they don't even twitch LOL

but again, a rock bucket I think is your best tool, and sadly, a lot of bending over and picking them up
got a football team near by ?? maybe you can try and sucker the team there for a work out, with some free hot dogs burgers and what not's??
LOL

as for needing lime, that I figured was a giving LOL
just know its going to take a bunch of time for it to work and all the more so if you cannot disc/mix it in good!
some times you better off planting an annual plot till PH gets to where it needs
clover seed ain't cheap, so, your not going to get a great take on clover in low PH.
I'd plant a turnip, oats, or the likes for a fall plot, then come back in spring time and re lime again(odds are it will need it still)
and then maybe do a spring clover plot if you wish>?
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:21 PM
  #3  
Fork Horn
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Thanks for the input mrbb. I've looked at the rock buckets but I'm afraid it wouldn't work too well with a compact tractor. I've already got a tooth bar on the standard bucket and once any of the teeth hit a softball sized rock or larger it completely stops forward movement. This tractor is a wonderful time saving tool but at roughly 4,000 pounds it will only do so much and weight is the limiting factor.

So far the large rocks have been cleared off. These range anywhere from basketballs up to the size of an ATV. There are still several that dynamite wouldn't budge but I knew going in those would remain part of the landscape. I think a box blade angled rear way high and just using the rippers to roll up the smaller rocks would work plus be less wear and tear on the FEL. Once those are rolled up I could use the landscape rake to line the rocks up in rows to be scooped up with the FEL. My concern is if the landscape rake can hold up.

I like the football team idea. It would cost about the same to feed them as renting the equipment but on the other hand you know how hard it can be to get teenagers to work these days.

Picked up another probably 20 FEL buckets full today of mostly bigger rocks but there are still plenty small ones left. I definitely know what you mean about it never ending. I've been tilling the same garden on this land for years and every time I go over it there are always rocks to pick up. I'm pretty sure they're mating so I'll have an endless supply. If I could only find a market for them.

I did get the lime down today and disced in. Just need to get some rain on it now. The pH prior to liming was 5.6 and I've seen Durana clover do pretty decent at that. The phosphorus numbers were pretty low so I plan on adding that just before the final discing and seeding with another light app early spring. I'll do another soil test next year and make any needed adjustments then. I don't plan on seeding until mid September so there's still a little time. I might call the rental place and see what they say about the rake and go from there. Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 08-19-2017, 05:32 PM
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HAH< I hear you trying to find kids today willing to do manual work is not easy, even with free food or even cash, they just don't want to do manual work no more!
but was thought, never know, a COACH might be easier to bribe and MAKE the kids do it, pending who you know LOL
but honestly, you hit the nail on the head,m renting the right equipment is honestly the best option, if the cash is there, the right equipment can do a lot in less time than , the wrong gear

If your front end loader struggles to move things, a box blade ain;t going to do much better, you will again end up damaging it, and any rental fee's might be higher than renting the right machine
Maybe price an excavator with a blade on it
as again, if you can dig them to the top, you should be able to scoop them up in a bucket, a rock bucket saves the loss of a lot of top soil, thus my saying about them!

if you have a good rental shop , and there willing to work with you, you can some times get them to offer the rental by the hr on the machine
and then maybe get them to haul a tracked skid steer and a excavator LOL all for one price, and get a half day on each charge
excavator to dig em out, a rock bucket on the skid steer, to clean them up
a full day like this with two machines, should clean up a lot of rocks, and both being tracked machine, not compact things too much, or make a mess

but a lot comes down to your budget and how willing a shop is to work with you

I been lucky at times a farmer near me has a big rock picker and is a friend, so over the yrs, he's moved a lot of rocks for me
NEVER been lucky to make any money off the rocks, but I have had folks want them for free, and come and removed them from a pile I had , that was covering about an acre of tri axle loads of rocks from fields there?

e at times if you pile them so they can be had later on
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Old 08-19-2017, 06:43 PM
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I would steer clear of the landscape rake. I've not ever found them that useful period, but I guess they work ok on loose aggregate. Anything very large or hung in the ground, tines bend and break.

If I were clearing rocks, I'd probably rent a rock bucket and a compact track loader. Lots more power and tractive effort than a small compact tractor, and should be able to clear a 0.6 spot in an easy half-day if it is indeed arable land.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:09 AM
  #6  
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Probably not feasible for you, but this would look like a good solution for this type of problem:

http://www.roborockpicker.com
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:47 AM
  #7  
Fork Horn
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Trust me, I think I've looked at every attachment and gizmo made and the only ones that would probably work are way out of my price range. Looks like a good pair of leather gloves (already worn a couple pairs out) and a lot of sweat is going to be the best tools for the job within my budget. The good news is we're supposed to have some cooler weather coming for the weekend. The heat and humidity have both been a huge factor in getting this project done. This past Saturday it was 74 at 6am with 98% humidity. I was soaking wet by 8am and quit the rock picking operation by noon. If we can get a couple cooler weekends I should be able to get this area good enough to plant. At this point I have way too much time and work invested to give up plus I'm kind of stubborn. The dirt on this property is actually pretty good for growing stuff providing you can get enough of the rocks out.
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Old 08-21-2017, 05:04 PM
  #8  
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I hear you I hate this hot humid weather, its not for me!

I know the odds of this working are again slim
BUt, if you can find some kids,and, try a bribe of sorts
giving a TOP prize to who ever build the largest pile of rocks, wins the pot or the likes
never know what help you can get.

I get some jobs done at my place when i sisters kids are here(spoiled kids) and only way I can get them to do anything is when I can pit them against each other and offer a prize to the winner
seems to help motivate kids other wise wouldn't lift a twig on there own if you asked for help!
Maybe even offer a hunt to some older teens or young adults ? once the plots get built? who know's this can even lead to a good friendship ??
archery ranges/shops/gun stores are decent places to find some help too
lot of folks don;t have any place decent to hunt, and many will do work for access, and you get to PICK and choose IF you like them, based on how they work or NOT!
Again, some times help can be had if you get creative!

and I still think a tracked skid steer with a rock bucket would do wonders for you, , and save your back a lot of work, and up my way 90% of them are AC cab'd to boot LOL
worth a few extra bucks right there to me! HAHA!
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:46 AM
  #9  
Fork Horn
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Here's a photo to give you an idea of what I'm working with. This picture was taken after all the brush, briars, vines and scrub trees were cleared. None of the rocks had been disturbed just yet. The rocks on the left are still covered by some vines and at least as big as a full size pick up truck and these are nowhere near the biggest on the property. Not sure how deep they go below the surface but I do know they are not going anywhere. The smaller rocks are a little hard to see because of the shadows but this gives you an idea of what's there. I'll try to get another picture this weekend to show the progress so far.

I'll try the photo thing again.


Last edited by Ballistictip; 08-22-2017 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 08-22-2017, 11:39 AM
  #10  
Nontypical Buck
 
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well that pic doesn't show, Photo bucket pic s have issue's since they changed there rules?

so heads up, NO pic in your last tread!
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