This year’s Louisiana soybean crop could exceed 1 million acres, boosted by low prices for other crops and high fertilizer prices.

“I would say we’re going to be somewhere around 1.2 million acres,” said Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist.

Last year, 2,224 farmers planted a total of 996,693 acres, according to the LSU AgCenter’s 2011 Ag Summary.

Levy said the high cost for fertilizer has moved some corn acreage into soybeans, and cotton acreage is moving to soybeans because cotton prices are low.

In the meantime, soybean prices are good, exceeding $14 a bushel for the entire month of April on the Chicago Board of Trade.

The optimum planting window ends May 10, but Levy estimated that around two-thirds of the crop is already planted. “We could use a rain now to finish planting.”

Because of concerns over weed resistance to glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup and other Roundup-like herbicides, Levy is seeing a slight increase in acreage for LibertyLink soybeans. Most farmers, however, are continuing their use of Roundup Ready varieties.

With LibertyLink soybeans, farmers can use the herbicide Liberty, which contains the active ingredient glufosinate. This herbicide is different from glyphosate in how it kills weeds and offers an alternative means of control of glyphosate-resistant weeds, said Jim Griffin, LSU AgCenter weed scientist.

“Liberty Link is new, so they are looking at how it would fit in their weed-control program. We will have to wait and see if acreage will increase as producers get comfortable using this new technology,” Levy said.

Levy said there is concern that the warm winter could result in more insect and disease pressures for soybeans.