As agriculture minister Nick Brown has repeatedly if tactfully pointed out to pig farmers, their problems are due at least partly to their persistently large production volume. October's UK pork and bacon output, although lower than 12 months previously, was hard for the trade to absorb at a time when lamb and mutton were abundant and beef production was supplemented by heavy sales from intervention stores. Even without counting these surplus disposals, the market had been transformed since the 1996-97 period of high pig prices because at that time a big proportion of beef output was being taken into intervention. {{MEAT }}