Athol New the hot favourite to take out Young Farmer of the Year competition
Aorangi hopeful Athol New is shaping up as the favourite to take out the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year competition.
The 30-year-old dairy business manager put in a commanding performance during Friday's practical challenges in Timaru.
He is now regarded as the hot favourite to take out the title.
New backed up a solid technical day performance by winning the Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports on time, with quality points still to be marked.
READ MORE: Young Farmer comp kicks off
That came after a gruelling morning of completing tasks on his own farmlet and being tested on a myriad of farm activities.
New Zealand Young Farmer (NZYF) communications manager Nadine Porter said New had shown composure throughout the "epic" two days of competition.
On finishing the practical day, New said he was relieved it was all done and dusted.
While no points have been released as to how competitors were faring, Porter said New's practical nous was evident and on display.
The winner of the 48th FMG Young Farmer of the Year will be announced at a black tie event on Saturday night.
If he does take out the title, he will follow in fellow Mid Canterbury farmer Matt Bell's footsteps and continue the strong history the region has had with the contest over the past decade.
However, New will face stiff competition from second time grand finalists James Hoban from Tasman, Tony Dowman from East Coast, and Pete Fitz-Herbert from Taranaki-Manawatu.
While Aorangi has a strong change at taking out the main competition, the region's younger competitors came up short in their finals on Friday.
The TeenAg competiton was won by Rathkeale College competitors Callum and Archie Woodhouse. The pair, representing the East Coast region, have a special history with the competition.
Their dad, Ian Woodhouse, was a NZYF grand finalist in both 1990 and 1993.
A team from the East Coast region also took out the AgriKids category. It was won by Tinui School's Samantha Marriott, Maddie Taylor, Georgia Higinbottom.
More than 500 NZYF members from Kerikeri to Invercargill have descended on Timaru for the three-day event.