In this paper multi-objective differential evolution (MODE) approach is proposed for the simultaneous evolution of optimal cropping pattern and operation policies for a multi-crop irrigation reservoir system. In general, farming community wants to maximize total net benefits by irrigating high economic value crops over larger area, which may also include water-intensive crops and longer duration crops. This poses a serious problem under water-scarce conditions and often results in crop failure. Under varying hydrological conditions, the fixed cropping pattern with conventional operating rule curve policies may not yield economically good results. To provide flexible policies, a nonlinear multi-objective optimization model is formulated. To achieve robust performance by handling interdependent relationships among the decision variables of the model, the recent MODE technique is adopted to solve the multi-objective problem. The developed model is applied for ten-daily reservoir operation to a case study in India. The model results suggest that changes in the hydrologic conditions over a season have considerable impact on the cropping pattern and net benefits from the irrigation system. Towards this purpose, the proposed MODE model can be used to evolve different strategies for irrigation planning and reservoir operation policies, and to select the best possible solution appropriate to the forecasted hydrologic condition.