Mr. Andrew Sippel started his saltbush work when he was first employed as a Revegetation Manager with Yates Seeds Australia in 1987. This was the commencement of a long term research project on a relatively obscure, native perennial plant known as Atriplex nummularia, or more commonly Oldman saltbush. This work became more earnest after meeting with Mr. Dick Condon, a former Western Lands Commissioner of NSW.
For many years, stories had been around about OMSB's remarkable properties, but its use had become limited and real knowledge as to its benefits & proper management was sparse, despite the best efforts of people like Mr. Condon. As a result, Andrew's study involved detailed examination of the plant's physiology, propagation techniques and the grazing management skills needed for its optimal use.
Whilst doing literature reviews, Andrew found that far more was known about this plant 100 years ago than what was known in 1987 - a prime example of "knowledge lost". It soon became clear that Oldman saltbush was once one of the main backbone plant species in the Australian grazing industry. Indeed, it was so well appreciated that a government botanist, Mr. Baron von Muller, realising it was unique to Australia and of great potential use globally, sent seed samples to various countries around the world.
One of those countries was South Africa and over the years, a thriving industry developed around it. Andrew visited there in 1989 and soon discovered the remarkable work that was being done with the plant by Mr. Gerhard de Kock. Andrew quickly realised that it was time for Oldman saltbush to once again make an impact in its native country.
In 1992, as a result of changing priorities, Yates Seeds decided to place the propagation nursery on the market. Seeing an opportunity, Andrew and his wife Diane bought the saltbush business from Yates Seeds, set up their own large scale propagation nursery, also in Narromine, and started a new company - Grazing Management Systems Pty. Ltd.. This Narromine based business specializes in saltbush & grass seedling propagation, large scale field transplanting, saltbush & grass seedling sales and grazing management services. Ongoing further researching into Oldman saltbush propagation and grazing management is carried out via the Dick Condon Research facility, which is closely associated with the nursery.
One of the key reason why Andrew Sippel has been able to develop this work so comprehensively is his unique background in both the livestock and horticultural industries, thus being able to integrate these two agricultural disciplines.
It is this combination that has allowed the development of Grazing Management Systems' protocols into the world leader in dryland grazing, land rehabilitation and grazing management.
A letter from Dick Condon about Oldman Saltbush