Sensitivity analysis of a stochastic discrete event simulation model of harvest operations in a static rose cultivation system

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Greenhouse crop system design for maximum efficiency and quality of labour is an optimisation problem that benefits from model-based design evaluation. This study focussed on the harvest process of roses in a static system as a step in this direction. The objective was to identify parameters with strong influence on labour performance as well as the effect of uncertainty in input parameters on key performance indicators. Differential sensitivity was analysed and results were tested for model linearity and superposability and verified using the robust Monte Carlo analysis method since in the literature, performance and applicability of differential sensitivity analysis has been questioned for models with internal stochastic behaviour. Greenhouse section length and width, single rose cut time, and yield influence labour performance most, but greenhouse section dimensions and yield also affect the number of harvested stems directly. Throughput, i.e. harvested stems per second, being the preferred metric for labour performance, is most affected by single rose cut time, yield, number of harvest cycles per day, greenhouse length and operator transport velocity. The model is insensitive for a of lognormal distributed stochastic variables describing the duration of low frequent operations in the harvest process, like loading and unloading rose nets. In uncertainty analysis, the coefficient of variation for the most important outputs, labour time and throughput, is around 5%. Total sensitivity as determined using differential sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo analysis essentially agreed. The combination of both methods gives full insight into both individual and total sensitivity of key performance indicators. (C) 2013 IAgrE. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-469
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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