Applying Operation Research Methodologies to Hydroponic Crop Scheduling in a Closed System: An Integer Programming Approach

Mahmoud A. Barghash1, *, Tala Raed Shurbaji1, Rama Romman1
1 Department of Industrial Engineering, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan

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© 2023 Barghash et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Industrial Engineering, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan; E-mail:



Hydroponic system has spread across Europe, but its use in developing countries is limited. Hydroponics may represent the industrial version of farming. It is established within buildings; it depends on automation, can go vertically, and has better use of land resources. However, the feasibility of hydroponic farms is hindered by the start-up cost and may be improved through the proper scheduling of the harvest to be in the optimal duration to take advantage of price seasonality and traditional farming production fluctuations.


To improve the feasibility of hydroponic farms, this work develops a new operation research model that includes sales price variations, volume and productivity of plants, space limitations, electrical installation, solar panels, etc. This model aims to address the most important questions that farmers face, that is, what, when and how much to plant. Certain assumptions are made, such as reusable packaging, solar panels, and limiting the plantation to selected popular crops in Jordan that can be easily marketed. The model is applied to a farm of size equal to 500 m2 in area and 4000 m3 in volume.


The main result of this work is the valuable figure that shows the plantation schedule. It shows the timely plantation (how much and when) for each type of the selected plants. Further analysis is performed regarding the profit and total plant volume as compared to the total volume of the farm. It also evaluates actual production versus target production.


This work evaluates the expected profit of the selected hydroponic farm to be 17,778 JD compared to an average of 1000 JD from traditional farming of land with the same square meters.

Keywords: Hydroponic systems, Crop planning, Crop rotation, Optimization, 3D volume constraint, Integer programming, Operations research.