A lot of middle-aged farmers across the Prairies can remember being sent out into the field with a “stone boat,” a tractor and pair of gloves with instructions to pick all the rocks. Today even those small- to medium-size rocks can be picked efficiently and quickly without wearing out a pair of gloves.
The Elho Scorpion 550, which is made in Finland, is designed specifically for that purpose. Equipped with a built-in 18-foot rake, the Scorpion can collect stones across that width at close to a normal field speed.
“It’s just been introduced into Canada in the last year and a half,” said Marvin Gingrich of Gingrich Reps, the company that handles the Scorpion’s distribution in Canada, while speaking with Grainews at the Ag in Motion farm show near Langham, Sask. “We’ve had some very good success with it because it’s a unique machine. It’s very efficient. You have 18 feet of swath and typically travel speeds up to 3.5 miles per hour.”
Farmers in Finland often have to contend with fields that have large numbers of small to mid-sized stones, because of the nature of that country’s geography. The Scorpion was designed for precisely those conditions, which many Prairie farmers also face.
The Scorpio 550 is completely hydraulically controlled, and the components are protected by a series of relief valves and a unique system design that automatically transfers oil flow to compensate for blockages.
“For instance, if one of the rakes was caught on something, that rake would stop and the oil from that would be diverted into the lift system,” says Gingrich. “The machine would lift up automatically. As soon as that object is free enough to be kicked forward, the machine would settle back down to its prior depth.
“It’s a totally hydraulic system. There are no PTO shafts, slip clutches, chains, belts, shear pins, that type of thing. Everything is protected by relief valves. You should have 120 horsepower and up. But because it’s hydraulic and everything is protected, you can run it with 300 horsepower (without risking damage).”
Another feature of the Scorpio 550 is its high-dump capability. The hopper holds roughly two cubic metres of rock and can transfer them into some truck or trailer heights to allow for longer transport distances.
List price for the Scorpion 550 is C$109,000, plus freight from Ontario.