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Jason Erasmus, of Mackenzie Young Farmers, was second and Lachlan Angland, of Pendarves Young Farmers, third, at the event at the Methven A and P show, followed by the quiz section in the Mt Hutt Memorial Hall.
Mr McAlwee was feeling the pressure knowing he was heading to the grand final in Christchurch in July.
"Feeling a bit stressed thinking about what’s to come. I got some advice from previous winners before coming here, and it was to not win because you learn more, so I didn’t really follow that," he quipped.
He is an assistant manager at Singletree Dairies, a 2500 cow farm, at Pendarves. He felt his job prepared him for a lot of what the competition threw at him, in particular his experience with the people and health and safety side of the competition.
"Working on such a large operation has given me a good base of knowledge around everything, especially the people aspect of farming, which really helped me."
In the lead-up to July, Mr McAlwee will be juggling a busy time on the farm with his grand final preparation, but he was looking forward to the challenge.
"I didn’t expect to win ... I came in with zero expectations, so I think I need to focus on relaxing a bit and getting as prepared as I can before the grand finals. I’ve got a good base of farming experience to fall back on," he said.