• Models that implement the bio-physical components of agro-ecosystems are ideally suited for exploring sustainability issues in cropping systems. Sustainability may be represented as a number of objectives to be maximized or minimized. Models provide a means to evaluate system performance for alternative strategic, tactical and operational decisions. The full decision space is usually very large and simplifications based on insight into agronomic relations and farming practice are necessary to safeguard computational feasibility. Different optimisation approaches have been proposed in the literature, usually based on mathematical programming techniques. The disadvantage of these techniques is that they can only deal with greatly simplified system descriptions, thus excluding the direct use of bio-physical system models. Here, we present a global search approach based on an Evolutionary Algorithm (EA). We introduce a multiobjective evaluation technique within this EA framework, linking the optimisation procedure to the APSIM cropping systems model, and perform simulations in parallel over an existing computer network.

  • P. deVoil Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit , Department of Primary Industries, Qld, Australia

    W. A. H. Rossingb Biological Farming Systems Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

    G. L. Hammer School of Land and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia



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