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Two-replicate row–column designs are often used for field trials in multisite tree or plant breeding programmes. With only two replicates for each trial, it is important to use designs with optimal or near optimal efficiency factors. This paper presents an algorithm for generating such designs. The method extends the contraction approach of Bailey and Patterson to any set of parameters and uses the factorial design construction algorithm of Williams and John to generate designs. Our experience with the algorithm is that it produces designs that are at least as good as, and often much better and more quickly generated than, those obtained by other recent computer algorithms.