In each relationship there exists an expectation that the parties will assist each other in removing obstacles that make life difficult and in the case of Radium Engineering and the Department of Agronomy at Stellenbosch University, this sentiment has gained a literal meaning.
Radium Engineering, a family business based in the north of the country, donated a Schulte Rock Windrower (rock rake) and Rock Picker to SU and demonstrated their features at the Roodebloem Experimental Farm near Caledon recently.
According to Gareth Roest, Sales Director at Radium Engineering, these rock removal machines were imported to South Africa for the first time approximately a year ago, even though farmers all over the world have been using them for many years. These specific machines are being imported from Canada.
“The rock rake and rock picker reduce labour time and costs when fields are being prepared. The removal of rocks also eliminate damage to your other machines,” Roest said.
Due to the increasing costs of manual labour over the past couple of years, mechanical stone and rock picking has become a critical part of farming.
The pivoting rock windrower (rock rake) is designed to windrow small to medium rocks (5cm-29cm) with ease, forming them into neat, uniform rows ready for pick-up by a rock picker. Roots, stumps, chips and other debris from land-clearing operations can also be windrowed. The rock picker gathers up the windrowed stones into a hopper to cart them off the field.
Radium Engineering has been using the implements for the past year and Roest said they were looking forward to receiving feedback.
“We want people to be aware of the technology available in South Africa that can make life easier,” he explained.
He emphasised that it is part of their company’s policy to help where they can and that this donation could be the start of a mutually beneficial relationship between Radium Engineering and Stellenbosch University.
“We are relying on the university and the research being done by them,” he said.
Prof Nick Kotze, chairperson of the Department of Agronomy in the Faculty of AgriSciences explained that the rock rake and rock picker will be used to prepare the department’s various experimental plots.
“It will save us a lot of time,” he added.
The Department of Agronomy focuses on doing research on industry-specific problems and supplying the agricultural community with specific answers to problems based on scientific trials.
They will be able to assist Radium Engineering in quantifying the impact of the rock removal machines.
Prof Nick Kotze
Head of Department: Agronomy
Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University
083 461 6670 / 021 808 4003