Networks and Spatial Economics

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 321–343 | Cite as

Planning for Agricultural Forage Harvesters and Trucks: Model, Heuristics, and Case Study

  • Victor Blanco
  • Luisa Carpente
  • Yolanda Hinojosa
  • Justo Puerto


In this paper we study an actual problem proposed by an agricultural cooperative devoted to harvesting corn and grass. The cooperative uses harvesters for harvesting the crop and trucks for carrying it from the smallholdings to the landowners’ silos. The goal is to minimize the total working time of the machinery. Therefore, the cooperative needs to plan both the harvesters and trucks routing. This routing problem simultaneously incorporates the following characteristics: time windows, nested decisions, processing times required to service each facility and the fact that facilities must be visited in clusters. A binary integer linear programming model is proposed to solve this problem. However, since approaches dealing directly with such formulation lead to considerable computation times, we propose a heuristic alternative solution approach for the problem. The heuristic is applied to the case of the cooperative “Os Irmandiños” with a large number of landowners and smallholdings. We report on extensive computational tests to show that the proposed heuristic approach can solve large problems effectively in reasonable computing time.


Location-routing Application: agriculture Binary linear programming Heuristic algorithms Tabu search 



The authors want to thank Mr. Juan Jesús Sanz Sixto for the JAVA implementation of the heuristic algorithm developed in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Blanco
    • 1
  • Luisa Carpente
    • 2
  • Yolanda Hinojosa
    • 3
  • Justo Puerto
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Estadística e IO, Facultad de MatemáticasUniversidad de SevillaSevillaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Matemáticas, Facultade de InformáticaUniversidade da CoruñaCoruñaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Economía Aplicada I, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y EmpresarialesUniversidad de SevillaSevillaSpain

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