Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computational Modeling & Simulation Engineering


Modeling and Simulation

Committee Director

Frederic D. McKenzie

Committee Member

Andrew J. Collins

Committee Member

Ghaith A. Rabadi

Committee Member

Yuzhong Shen


With the food security challenge faced by nations globally, agriculture sustainability has been a significant consideration for concerned agencies. Sustainability assessments are significant tools in providing support to stakeholders in their crop production planning. Agricultural sustainability assessment, however, is complex and it involves numerous criteria that can be conflicting. Limitations on crop rotation sustainability assessment methods include: non-dynamic assessment; lack of regard to cover crops and to the individual crop production preferences of farmers; and focused only on single-year and single-crop rotation. We sought to address these limitations by developing a multi-criteria and dynamic sustainability assessment model that considers the economic and environmental impact of a multi-year and multi-crop rotation. In this study, we investigated the integration of a crop simulation model, multi-criteria decision analysis and an ontology-based cover crop model as an approach. The integration allows dynamic assessment of multi-crop and multi-year crop rotation by having the crop model simulate the potential crop production of alternatives based on the provided model parameters, weather, and agromanagement data. The crop rotation and cover crop effects and benefits are also accounted for by using the asserted and inferred knowledge of the cover crop ontology. Finally, a multi-criteria assessment of the crop rotation alternatives is possible by the integration of analytical hierarchy process, a multi-criteria decision analysis method.