Monsanto says it will invest up to $196 million to increase capacity at its glyphosate-manufacturing facility in Luling, La. The Luling plant expansion is expected to be completed in the first half of the company’s 2010 fiscal year.

Earlier this year, Monsanto announced a significant price hike for Roundup, saying the action was necessary to ration the active ingredient glyphosate, which was in short supply among Monsanto’s generic glyphosate competitors.

Monsanto recently received authorization from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on three permits which pave the way for the new enhancements at its Luling facility. The company’s investment is designed to expand infrastructure and front-end manufacturing capacity at the facility.

The improvements have the potential to increase the site’s manufacturing capacity of Roundup agricultural herbicide by approximately 20 percent, which would increase the overall global supply of glyphosate by more than 10 percent.

In addition to the planned expansion, Monsanto announced it will implement a hydrogen-recovery project to reduce natural gas costs and better conserve and utilize hydrogen, a by-product of the glyphosate manufacturing process.