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Published April 14, 2010, 12:00 AM

Brothers to demonstrate high-volume rock picker

Mel Aho, owner of a farm in central Minnesota, has developed the RP1000 Rock Picker, a machine that’s capable of efficiently picking large quantities of stone from tillable fields.

Mel Aho, owner of a farm in central Minnesota, has developed the RP1000 Rock Picker, a machine that’s capable of efficiently picking large quantities of stone from tillable fields.

This past September, Mel’s brother, Mark “Merf” Aho, operated the RP1000 in a field in Sebeka. He picked 1,500 yards of stone from 55 acres, and did so in 65 machine hours. During that time, the RP1000 loaded a dump truck more than 175 times with 8-yard loads of stone and debris.

It was one of Aho’s own fields, a stony 160-acre tract, that motivated him to design the new rock picker. He got help from a friend, Perry Gilmour of Clark County, Washington, to build the machine.

The effort, he said, has been worthwhile.

After picking the rocks from his field with the RP1000, Aho has been able to double the speeds at which he operates his planting and harvesting equipment. Additionally, his equipment maintenance costs have dropped significantly due to the reduction in wear on his machinery.

The Aho brothers will host a public demonstration of the RP1000 Rock Picker in the Hillview Management area near Sebeka on April 30 and May 1. The machine is available for hire in 2010. Visit http://www.therockpicker.com, or contact Merf Aho at (603) 365-7183 to register for the demo.

The RP1000 Rock Picker is protected by U.S. Patent 7,658,233 B1. International patents are pending.

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