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Manure use increases on Wisconsin farms

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin farms have spilled over a million gallons of manure in 2013. It's the most since 2007 -- and it's about five times that of last year's spill total, which was 191,000 gallons.

The D-N-R said this year's spills represented only one-percent of all the waste generated by Wisconsin dairy cows. Officials say mishaps are not uncommon, regardless of the precautions that farmers take. The D-N-R says there's never been a clear trend in the amount of manure spills from year-to-year. However, environmentalists are concerned that we're seeing more spills as the number of so-called mega-dairies grows in the Badger State. There are almost 200 larger dairies, known as concentrated animal feeding operations.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that more than a-third of the manure spills since 2007 came from those farms. The latest major spill was discovered a week-and-a-half ago. About 300,000 gallons of manure spilled from a broken pipe at a digester in Dane County that converts manure into electricity. Some of the manure spilled into a nearby creek. The D-N-R said the spill did not appear to kill any fish, but the damage is still being assessed.