An Auckland-based business graduate has been named the 51st FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

James Robertson took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of almost 700 people in Hawke's Bay tonight.

There was loud applause as the 22-year-old made his way through a standing ovation and onto the stage.

"I honestly can't believe I've won. It's a dream come true. This win brings a tear to my eye," Robertson told the crowd.

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The Fonterra business graduate is the youngest of seven finalists who competed in this year's grand final.

The victory is the culmination of days of gruelling practical and technical challenges which tested their skills, knowledge and stamina.

James Robertson tackles a practical challenge at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds. Photo / Supplied.
James Robertson tackles a practical challenge at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds. Photo / Supplied.

Competitors had to drive a large grape harvester, make sausages, assess health and safety risks using a virtual reality simulator, install an irrigation system for fruit trees, market a line of sheep and sit an agri-business exam.

Robertson takes home a prize package worth at least $75,000, which includes a trip to Ireland.

Robertson also took out the FMG People's Choice Award, winning $1,000 for his Auckland Young Farmers club.

Central Hawke's Bay technical field representative Joseph Watts, 28, took out second place.

He also won the innovation prize, the award for showcasing food production and was named the most tech-savvy contestant.

Waikato vet Emma Dangen, 24, came third and picked up the award for championing environmental best practice.