I am looking for a stone burier for my 17hp tractor. What would you recommend?

Mention stone buriers and my first thought is the BLECavator from Peterborough-based BLEC Global. This machine does six jobs in one pass. It cultivates to a maximum depth of 18cm, pulverises the soil, buries the stones and debris, then levels and firms the surface and will even sow seed from an optional hopper.

HW tested the BLECavator in soaking wet soil and found it produced a perfect tilth. But, crucially, it takes a lot of power. While the key to successful one-pass operation of the BLECavator is to take it slowly, I reckon your tractor is just a little underpowered for the smallest model (1m). It really needs 20hp upwards.

Major Equipment offers a 1.05m stone burier with 24 blades and a working depth of 10cm. It has side shift through a reinforced chain and comes with levelling bar and packer roller. Weight is 350kg. This one really needs a tractor upwards of 24hp.

Likewise, the 1.05m Muratori stone burier MX4SXL, available from AJ&R Scambler of Cambridgeshire, really needs a tractor of 20hp or more.

Similarly, your tractor is likely to be too small for the Amazone stone burier. This has a screen roller, deposits debris to a depth of 15cm and can be used in combination with a seed box for sowing lawns. Ideally, the 0.85m machine needs 20hp, while the 1.05m version requires 25hp upwards. It will be worth looking at the BLEC, Major, Muratori and Amazone machines if you are thinking of upgrading your tractor.

Horsepower is important because most stone buriers are power-hungry — even more so in wet, sticky soils. With only 17hp to play with, your choice is limited. The other important issue relates to the tractor's transmission. This one-pass cultivation requires a very slow speed. Some tractors with mechanical gearboxes can't match the slow speed. A hydrostatic tractor is the best option.

But don't despair — there are stone-burying units for sub-20hp tractors. Kilworth Machinery of Ashby-de-la-Zouch has a RotorBurier Compact designed specifically for tractors of 20hp and under. The 1.1m model needs a minimum of 18hp but the 85L, with a working width of 0.9m and weight of 220kg, can be run by tractors of 15hp to 20hp.

The RotorBurier is intended for use as a finishing machine on areas where a fine and level seedbed is required and benefits from 20cm mechanical side-shift to eliminate one tractor-wheel mark. It buries stones and other debris to a depth of 15cm and its mesh rear roller, with cable scraper, ensures a fine tilth. Optional extras include hydraulic top link, packer roller and seeder unit. Expect to pay around £4,335 ex VAT.

Another possibility is the Stony 75 from RECO of Huntingdon. This "soil renovator" suits preparation prior to turf laying or seeding of lawns and can be run with tractors between 12hp and 18hp. It has a working width of 75cm, depth of 14cm and comes with mesh roller. A rear grader blade is fitted as standard but seeder kits, for single-pass preparation and sowing, are available as extras. Weight is 270kg and list price £5,927 ex VAT. A 90cm Stony is also available but requires more than 18hp.

Finally, have you thought about removing the stones? Perhaps use a landscape rake to gather the stones to one edge of the site or hire in a stone picking machine for a day.

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