||Process-based grassland models (PBMs) simulate growth and development of vegetation over time. The models tend to have a large number of parameters that represent properties of the plants. To simulate different cultivars of the same species, different parameter values are required. Parameter differences may be interpreted as genetic variation for plant traits. Despite this natural connection between PBMs and plant genetics, there are only few examples of successful use of PBMs in plant breeding. Here we present a new procedure by which PBMs can help design ideotypes, i.e. virtual cultivars that optimally combine properties of existing cultivars. Ideotypes constitute selection targets for breeding. The procedure consists of four steps: (1) Bayesian calibration of model parameters using data from cultivar trials, (2) Estimating genetic variation for parameters from the combination of cultivar-specific calibrated parameter distributions, (3) Identifying parameter combinations that meet breeding objectives, (4) Translating model results to practice, i.e. interpreting parameters in terms of practical selection criteria. We show an application of the procedure to timothy (Phleum pratense L.) as grown in different regions of Norway.