||In this study, the WOFOST crop simulation model was used together with comprehensive empirical databases on barley Hordeum vulgare L. to study the contributions of different yield-determining and -limiting factors to observed trends of barley yield in Finland from 1988 to 2008. Simulations were performed at 3 study sites representing different agro-ecological zones, and compared with the data from experimental sites and that reported by local farmers. Yield gaps between simulated potential yields and farmers’ yields and their trends were assessed. Positive observed yield trends of Finnish barley mostly resulted from the development and usage of new, high-yielding cultivars. Simulated trends in climatic potential and water-limited potential yields of individual cultivars showed a slight declining trend. Yield gaps showed an increasing trend in 2 out of 3 study areas. Since the mid-1990s, a major reason for this has been the lack of market and policy incentives favouring crop management decisions, i.e. annual fertilisation, soil maintenance, drainage and crop rotation decisions, aiming for higher yields. The study indicates potential options for increasing or maintaining barley yields in the future. The breeding of new climate-resilient cultivars is the primary option. However, this needs to work alongside overall adjustments to farm management and must be supported by financial incentives for farmers to increase yields.