A multiple objective methodology for sugarcane harvest management with varying maturation periods
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This paper addresses the management of a sugarcane harvest over a multi-year planning period. A methodology to assist the harvest planning of the sugarcane is proposed in order to improve the production of POL (a measure of the amount of sucrose contained in a sugar solution) and the quality of the raw material, considering the constraints imposed by the mill such as the demand per period. An extended goal programming model is proposed for optimizing the harvest plan of the sugarcane so the harvesting point is as close as possible to the ideal, considering the constrained nature of the problem. A genetic algorithm (GA) is developed to tackle the problem in order to solve realistically large problems within an appropriate computational time. A comparative analysis between the GA and an exact method for small instances is also given in order to validate the performance of the developed model and methods. Computational results for medium and large farm instances using GA are also presented in order to demonstrate the capability of the developed method. The computational results illustrate the trade-off between satisfying the conflicting goals of harvesting as closely as possible to the ideal and making optimum use of harvesting equipment with a minimum of movement between farms. They also demonstrate that, whilst harvesting plans for small scale farms can be generated by the exact method, a meta-heuristic GA method is currently required in order to devise plans for medium and large farms.