Land-Use Sequence Optimiser (LUSO): A simulation model for analysing strategic and tactical decisions regarding 'break crops' in agricultural rotations

Michael Renton, R. Lawes

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    To grow beans, or not to grow beans, that is the question! Or in other words: how should I use this piece of land in front of me? This paper presents a preliminary design and implementation of a model called Land-Use Sequence Optimiser (LUSO). The model was designed to be a tool for finding optimal land-use sequences, with a particular focus on analysing the role of break crops within these optimal sequences. The model can also be used to analyse the sensitivity of optimal land-use sequences and the place of various break crops in these sequences to changes in model parameters. The focus of this paper is on describing the design concept and modelling approach used for LUSO and on showing how it can be used for analysing a problem, rather than giving details on parameterisations or results for particular cases. LUSO can be thought of as a state-and-transition model for valuing land-use sequences. It incorporates representations of weed biology and population dynamics, plant disease burden, soil nitrogen status, and a range of crop and management options. The model must be provided with a list of possible land-uses, each defined by a set of parameter values, and another set of 'general' parameter values that are not specific to a particular land-use. It is based on a one-year time step and assumes that every year is an 'average' year. The current version of the model represents a single land-use area, such as a paddock, and simulates how the state of this land-use area changes from year to year according to different land-uses. This model state includes representations of the number of seeds in the weed seed bank, and measures of disease burden and soil nitrogen status. The state is then used to predict the production and cost of the land use, which then provides an over-all long-term value for the land-use sequence. Several other routines and methods have been added to the basic land-use simulation - including optimisation and sensitivity analysis routines. The optimisation routines can be used to find answers to longer-term strategic questions, such as what is the optimal long-term sequence of crops to grow, or short-term tactical decisions, such as whether to harvest the crop that is currently being grown. The sensitivity analysis routines can be used to analyse how sensitive these answers are to various model parameters, which in turn allows an analysis of what factors are most important in choosing between tactical and strategic options. To illustrate these ideas, an example problem involving a tactical decision is presented; a farmer is faced with the decision between either harvesting a crop for immediate profit or sacrificing the crop and the immediate profit for longer-term benefits. A description of how LUSO was applied to analysing this problem is provided, together with sample output. I conclude the paper by pointing out that the strength of the LUSO modelling approach is its relative simplicity, transparency and efficiency. This means that it is relatively easy and quick to both adapt the model to address a new question, and then use the model to carry out the analysis. I also point out some directions where this approach could be usefully extended in future. © MODSIM 2009.All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInterfacing Modelling and Simulation with Mathematical and Computational Sciences
    EditorsR.S. Anderssen, R.D. Braddock, L.T.H. Newham
    Place of PublicationCairns
    PublisherAustralian Research Council
    Pages581-587
    VolumeN/A
    EditionCairns
    ISBN (Print)9780975840078
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event18th World IMACS Congress and International Congress on Modelling and Simulation: Interfacing Modelling and Simulation with Mathematical and Computational Sciences, MODSIM 2009 - Cairns, Australia
    Duration: 13 Jul 200917 Jul 2009

    Conference

    Conference18th World IMACS Congress and International Congress on Modelling and Simulation: Interfacing Modelling and Simulation with Mathematical and Computational Sciences, MODSIM 2009
    CountryAustralia
    CityCairns
    Period13/07/0917/07/09

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